Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), in an interview broadcast early Thursday, questioned whether former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) star power is starting to slip as the 2016 presidential campaign begins.


“You would have thought, when he announced in December, that he would be,” Christie said during an interview on NBC’s “Today” when asked if Bush would be his biggest rival if he decided to run for president.

“It seems to me like that train has slowed down pretty significantly,” he said.

Christie also hit the presumed Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, pushing back against a perception of her inevitability.

“She was a foregone conclusion in 2007, Matt and so was Rudy Giuliani,” he told NBC’s Matt Lauer as the two sipped milkshakes at a diner in New Hampshire. Christie gave his first-town hall address in the state on Wednesday.

“Ms. Clinton is going to have to perform, she’s going to have to earn the nomination, nobody is handed these things.”

Christie said he and his family have yet to decide whether he should run for president but pushed back on the assertion that the Bridgegate scandal, in which his aides allegedly sparked a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge as political retribution, has permanently sunk his favorability.

“I don’t think anybody likes to have something like that happen on their watch, and there’s no question that it affects you, in part, because it was a bad thing that happened, and in part, because of the incredible coverage that it got,” he said.

“Polls’ numbers go up and they go down based upon your performance, and I am far, far, from finished with my career.”

The New Jersey governor once held the title of Republican front-runner, as many even encouraged him to run for president in 2012. Christie added that he’s not upset to have lost that designation, since the election is still so far away.

“I've been the front-runner before. It's a place where the bull's-eye’s on your back, and everybody is shooting at you,” he said.

“All of that other stuff is artificial until the game really begins, and the game hasn't even come close to beginning.”

He also offered veiled criticism of the current Republican field, which includes Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Ted Cruz (Texas), and Marco Rubio (Fla.), and President Obama, whom he stood beside in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Some Republicans had criticized Christie for embracing Obama in the wake of that storm weeks before the presidential election. When asked to complete a sentence on Thursday, Christie said that Obama had made the country “weaker.”

“I think a governor is going to be a nominee, a governor or former governor because I believe that our party and our country needs somebody who’s actually run something,” he said.

“While I have great respect for a number of those folks, I don’t believe we’ve done well with the experiment of a one-term U.S. senator being president of the United States.”