New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie cast doubt on the Republican presidential field, saying that people are unhappy with the current slate of candidates and declining — once again — to give a nod in any particular direction.
“Nothing has changed from my perspective,” Christie said on Tuesday — also his 49th birthday — at a news conference called to address the response to Hurricane Irene.
Christie’s lackluster assessment is likely to ramp up attempts by GOP hopefuls to actively campaign for his approval, even as conservatives across the country continue to beg him to put himself in the race.
"I'm flattered that my name keeps getting brought up,” Christie said. “That is good for New Jersey."
The endorsement from the brash-talking governor is one of the most sought after in the Republican Party, rivaling that of conservative kingmaker Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Most of the major candidates have already paid visits to Christie at the governor’s mansion.
Christie confirmed in a news conference last week that Republican front-runner Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, has sought out his ear. Details of a dinner between the two are in the works.
Christie also said Tuesday that during President Obama’s Sunday visit to the Garden State to tour damage from the recent hurricane that blasted parts of the East Coast, speculation about a Christie candidacy didn’t come up, sparing the two an awkward exchange. He praised the Democratic president for spending part of his holiday weekend in New Jersey, and said the chit-chat focused on comparing notes about raising teenage daughters.