“I wasn't ready to run for president this time,” said the governor on “Conversations at NJPAC” on Tuesday.
Christie in November announced that he would be running for a second term as governor. He could face a high-profile challenger, as Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) has said he is considering a run for governor or Senate.
Christie has seen a boost in polls and in his national profile in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, with the governor being praised for his response to the storm.
A poll released Tuesday by Fairleigh Dickinson University showed 55 percent of registered voters nationwide viewed Christie favorably.
But Christie’s public praise of President Obama, who toured storm-ravaged areas of New Jersey with him before Election Day, might have hurt him with GOP voters.
A Public Policy Polling survey released earlier this month showed Christie behind Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioChamber endorses bill to block proposed estate tax rules Juan Williams: When WikiLeaks leaked my cell number 56 memorable moments from a wild presidential race MORE (R-Fla.) in a hypothetical GOP primary field. Christie’s 21-point net positive favorability score in the poll was also the lowest for the Republican candidates.
Christie in his Tuesday interview defended his public embrace of Obama over the federal government’s response to Sandy and denied that his actions undercut GOP nominee Mitt Romney before the election.
“Mitt Romney knew that I was doing what had to be done,” said Christie. “Then the media and political operatives got involved and it turned into a story. It's just stupid for anyone to be upset with my reaction, even if it was a week before the election.”
Christie said that he expected the ongoing recovery from Sandy to be his primary focus during the rest of his term.
“As governor, Sandy has consumed my job. Before that, there were topics that were pressing, but they don't consume all your time. This has consumed the governorship,” he said.
“But as a person, Hurricane Sandy has given me a stronger connection to the people. That shared experience will make it easier to do this hard job of rebuilding together,” Christie added.
The governor also said that last week’s tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., should force Washington to take stronger measures to stem gun violence.
“We certainly have to have the discussion about how to deal with these weapons,” said Christie, calling for a broad-based approach to address gun crime. “We need to open minds. We need to figure out the cocktail that needs to be mixed about mental health and these issues.”