New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie refused to rule out running for president in 2016 during the first debate of his re-election campaign, saying that if he does a good job as governor, then his political future will take care of itself.
“I’m going to continue to do my job the best way I possibly can, and I am not going to declare tonight Kristine, for you or anybody else, that I am or I am not running for president,” Mr. Christie told local CBS moderator Kristine Johnson on Tuesday. “You know what the people out there in New Jersey don’t expect me to. What they expect me to do is to do my job.”
Pressed on how he could ask for another four years in office when he might become preoccupied with running for the GOP presidential nod before the end of his second term, the tough-talking Republican said voters should support him if they like what he has done during his first term in office.
“I don’t think anybody in American or in the state of New Jersey expects anybody, three years away, to tell them what they are going to do,” Mr. Christie said. “Life is too long, Kristine, I won’t make those decisions until I have to.”
Mr. Christie holds a double-digit lead in his re-election bid against state Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat. GOP insiders and political observers say Mr. Christie could bolster his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination by emerging with a strong victory in New Jersey, a traditionally blue state.
Ms. Buono said Mr. Christie is already running for president, and it bothers her that he is sacrificing the safety of children by vetoing “commonsense” gun control legislation to cater to the National Rifle Association and. She said he is sacrificing the health of women by opposing taxpayer funds for Planned Parenthood to cater to the “national conservative base.”
“You are compromising and sacrificing the dignity of our gay brothers and sisters by vetoing marriage equality because you know that would kill you in a Republican primary,” Ms. Buono said.
Mr. Christie said Ms. Buono is the “only person on this stage obsessed with 2016.”
“I can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Mr. Christie said. “I can do this job and also deal with my future, and that is exactly what I will do.”