Presidential races

Christie hedges on full term

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) dodged questions across the Sunday shows about his presidential aspirations, but left the door open to leaving his current position before his next four-year term is up.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Christie said he’s currently focused on his second term as governor of New Jersey.

“I’m the governor of New Jersey. That’s my job, and that’s what I asked for, for four more years, and that’s what I intend to do,” he said.

But asked by host George Stephanopoulos whether he’d serve “all four years,” Christie dodged.

“Listen. Who knows? I don’t know. I’m going to continue to do my job and finish the job, but everybody’s trying to figure out what life is going to bring you a few years from now. I didn’t expect to be sitting here four years ago, George. So nobody can make those predictions,” he said.

{mosads}Christie is known to be considering a run, and his smashing reelection victory on Tuesday night was widely seen as the opening argument in the case he’s expected to make to GOP primary voters for 2016.

Christie delivered a victory margin of more than 20 points and took a majority of female and Hispanic voters, a significant feat for a Republican running in a blue state and one Republicans hope will serve as a model for other candidates in tough races.

But asked about his political future on other Sunday shows, Christie again demurred.

“The fact is we’ve got a lot of things to do, a lot of things to focus on, and I know everybody’s going to be speculating on what may come on my future and lots of other people’s future in our party,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“But the fact is: I’m focused on being the governor of New Jersey and being the chairman of the Republican Governors Association,” he said. “I think those two jobs will keep me pretty busy over the next year.”

The national spotlight will be focused on Christie as he ascends to a leadership position as head of the RGA, and observers will be watching to see if he can help recreate the success he saw in New Jersey in gubernatorial races nationwide.

He indicated on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he plans to play offense in the 2014 gubernatorial races, and hopes to pick up states.

And he outlined his recipe for success with minorities: “show[ing] up.”

“If you want to win a vote by that kind of margin, if you want to attract the majority of the Hispanic vote, if you want to nearly triple your African American vote, you need to show up, you need to go into those neighborhoods, you need to campaign in places,” Christie said on “Fox News Sunday.”

His time as RGA chairman and next term as governor will help him burnish the outsider status he’s cultivated over the past four years, one he repeatedly emphasized in interviews on Sunday.

He dodged questions on Iranian nuclear talks, suggesting to CBS’s “Face the Nation” host Norah O’Donnell ask the question of someone “significantly better briefed than I am.”

“I think when guys like me start to shoot off on opinions about this kind of stuff it’s really ill-advised. So I’ll leave this to Secretary [of State John] Kerry and the folks that are in charge of this to make decisions about where we go, and then once they put something together, if they do, I’ll make a judgment on that,” he said.

Asked what he thinks of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), two likely GOP primary opponents who have taken shots at him in recent weeks, Christie derided the question as Fox host Chris Wallace trying to snare him in a “Washington, D.C., game.”

“I am the governor of New Jersey, and I am focused on getting things done,” Christie said.

He added: “The rest of this stuff is just the game that gets played in Washington, which is why people hate Washington, D.C. That kind of garbage is why people don’t like it, so I am not going to get into that.”

And asked about claims in Double Down, a new book about the 2012 campaign, that suggest Mitt Romney passed over Christie for his vice presidential pick because he had too much political baggage, Christie again suggested the book was just inside-the-Beltway fodder — and refocused the conversation on his record in New Jersey.

“This is part of the parlor game of Washington, D.C., which has nothing to do with my record in New Jersey or what I’ve done in New Jersey,” he said.

The attempts to position himself in opposition to a “Washington, D.C., game” reflect record-low approval ratings for Congress and the Republican Party following a rocky month that saw the party take the blame for shutting down the government.

Christie and his advisers believe there’s an opening for a Washington outsider and a candidate who can frame himself as the most electable on the national stage to take the Republican nomination in 2016.

—This report was originally published at 9:58 a.m. and was last updated at 12:11 p.m. 

Tags 2016 Presidential race Chris Christie
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