Top Republican: GOP lacks good stable of presidential candidates

Republicans don't have a candidate who can adequately take on President Obama in 2012, a top House Republican said Thursday.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a veteran lawmaker who would become chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee if Republicans win back control of Congress, said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might be Republicans' best hope to win back the White House.

"I look at it now, I don't really see a candidate out there for president that we have that could go up against Barack Obama," King said on "Imus in the Morning" on the Fox Business Network. "As unpopular as he may be, he's still going to be tough in 2012."

King suggested that if this year's midterm elections are analogous to 1994, then maybe the 2012 presidential election will be similar to 1996, when President Bill Clinton soundly defeated Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) despite Democrats' weakened status after the '94 elections.

"After those races, everyone thought Bill Clinton was finished, but it turned out we really didn't have a candidate ready to take on Bill Clinton for president," King explained. "And Bob Dole was a great guy, but that was not his year to run for president."

The New York Republican floated the name of a nearby politician, New Jersey's Christie, as his favorite to take on Obama in two years.

"I think Chris Christie has been the guy that can get the conservatives on our side, but also take states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and he can cut into the blue collar ethnic unions," King explained.

Christie is just a year into his term as governor after having upset incumbent Democratic Gov. John Corzine in 2009. And while Christie has taken steps traditionally made by Republican candidates for president — a visit to Iowa, raising money for Republicans, etc. — he's adamantly denied interest in running for president.

"We're not running for president, under any circumstances. No chance," Christie said in late July. "Mrs. Christie would kick me out of the house; it would be over."

More in News

Top Republican floats Cruz as Supreme Court pick

Read more »