New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is poised for a potentially easy re-election bid this fall and already has generated whispers about 2016, said Tuesday he doesn't worry about people who criticize him for appearing publicly with people such as President Clinton or President Obama or being labeled a RINO ("Republican in Name Only").
"I can't concern myself with that stuff, Joe," the Republican told host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "My job is to do my job."
Mr. Christie said he never heard criticism along those lines "until I said some nice things about the president" in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy last year.
"I didn't wear my Romney sweatshirt to the tour around New Jersey," he quipped.
Mr. Christie said he's going to tell Republicans approaching him about a potential 2016 presidential run he's just going to keep doing his job.
"When those decisions need to be made, I'll make them," he said, adding that such decisions probably can wait until 2015.
"After you lose two elections in a row nationally, you want to win," he said when asked if he thought he could win in a Republican primary. "And I think what our party should be focused on is making sure that we nominate the best possible candidate that we can in 2016 to get elected."
Mr. Christie said that the woes of the national Republican Party can be traced, in part, to the party as a whole not being able to translate policies from the states, where Republican governors are seen as "doers" while still not violating their principles.
Mr. Christie said it's "not for me to decide" if there's a particular Republican in Washington or in office somewhere that represents the future of the party.
"Almost everything that I see that comes out of the floor of Congress from both parties shocks me," he added. "People are at both end zones, and nobody's playing in the middle of the field. Nobody's trying to get things done — they're yelling and screaming at each other from both end zones. I have seen stuff that comes out of the Democratic Party on the floor of the Senate and out of the House of Representatives that shocks me as much as stuff that comes out of some folks in the Republican Party, and sometimes even more."
Mr. Christie said that someone needs to take leadership and that Mr. Obama's so-called "charm offensive" should have started in January 2009.
"[It's] your fifth year of the presidency," he said. "It's a little bit late in the dating game to start to get to know somebody."
Mr. Christie said that appearances such as one he made with Mr. Clinton last week to discuss disaster planning or the ones he made with Mr. Obama in the waning weeks of the 2012 presidential campaign play a factor in political calculus, but that politicians cannot allow themselves be dictated by worrying about their political futures.
"First of all, everybody thinks about their future politically, and anybody who tells you that they don't who's in politics is lying to you — of course you think at your future politically," he said. "But you can't allow that to be the only thing that helps you make decisions. Sure, it's a factor. I factor it in. But if that's what rules your decisions, you're not going to last in this business long because people are going to see you for the phony you are, and the fact is, I make these decisions based on a totality of facts in front of me and make the best decision I can.
"And no, I'm not worried about it. I'm not worried about it. I recognize that there will be some people who will try to use the fact that I've done my job against me. I'm willing to have that argument. That's fine."
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