Republicans have publicly and aggressively courted both Christie and Daniels to run for president, proclaiming them the standard-bearers of both fiscal discipline and pragmatic governance. Both have repeatedly declined.

Like Christie, Daniels cited family concerns in explaining his rationale for turning down a 2012 run. But he was more definitive in affirming he wouldn't run than he was about his friend and counterpart from the Garden State.

"I'm not taking 'no' from Christie," Daniels said. "I'm taking 'not yet.'"