TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he never gets tired of being asked to run for president, but insists he’s still not going to doing it.
“How self-important would one have to be to become tired and annoyed by having people ask you to run for president?” Christie said Monday morning during an interview on a Philadelphia radio station.
“I’m a kid from Jersey who has people asking him to run for president. I’m thrilled by it,” he said. “I just don’t want to do it.”
That hasn’t stopped the Christie, who only took office in January 2010, from playing a kingmaker role in the race to the White House and having the top-tier GOP contenders over for dinner at the governor’s mansion in Princeton, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Jon Huntsman Jr., the former U.S. Ambassador to China and former Utah governor, is scheduled to stop by in the next week, Christie said, adding that he had only met Huntsman once at a White House dinner.
“If I decide to support a candidate for president, I want to make sure I really get to know that person,” Christie said.
And although he swears up and down the Turnpike that he’s not running, his comments increasingly sound more tuned for a national audience.
“I’m going to continue to play a role as a leader in our party, I think appropriately so, and I think it’s good for New Jersey,” Christie explained. “Clearly that’s my goal, to make sure we have a change in 2012.”
When asked whether gubernatorial experience was important for a presidential contender, Christie said he thought it was important to have that kind of combined executive and governmental experience, then took a dig at President Obama, who served one term in the Senate, for lacking it: “I think it’s taken him a while to really get the idea how you execute that type of authority.”
Without naming Donald Trump, Christie also said it would be difficult for someone who had no political experience to run because “you are foreign to that world.”
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)