Reporting Marcia Kramer
FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Speculation about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie entering the 2012 presidential race was at a fever pitch Monday. Unhappiness with the rest of the candidates has Republicans telling Christie it’s time to run.
WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell On The Story
The political tom toms are beating and the messages being sent from big dollar Republican donors around the country is “We want Christie” to run for president. Even many of his constituents are banging the drum.
“I love it. It sounds great. I think he would. Why not? He’s doing a good job Jersey,” one voter told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
“I wouldn’t mind. I wouldn’t mind,” another added.
“He’s a very popular man. I think he’s doing a good job in New Jersey. Why not?” said Robert Landau of Fort Lee.
“It’s like Giuliani, Trump … they’re all sticking their feet in the heater and see what the temperature is,” added Keith Kasper of Fort Lee.
Sources say the factors are easy to see: President Barack Obama looks vulnerable, and there is unhappiness with the current crop of Republican wannabes, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. The unhappiness is so intense a virtual unknown, GOP businessman Herman Cain, won last weekend’s Florida straw poll.
Stoking the Christie speculation is his cross country fund raising trip and high-profile speech at the Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday. Pundits say Republicans want Christie because he gives the GOP its best shot of unseating Obama.
“They believe he’s more rational. He’s not right; he’s not left and he can actually win and they’d love to have somebody from the Northeast,” political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said. “He can box Obama’s ears in in a place where he should do very well.”
Christie also got a big boost from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“He’s been a good governor in New Jersey. He’s shaken things up. I think he would be a credible, formidable candidate,” Bloomberg said.
And when Christie appeared at a Rider University forum last week with Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, he got another nudge to get into the race.
“I’m not taking no from Christie,” Daniels said.
Even Christie, himself, seems unhappy with current presidential crop.
“Politicians on the national stage underestimate the American people, in both parties, and they think you’re unwilling to hear the hard truths,” Christie said recently.
Christie has repeatedly shut the door on a 2012 run, but New Jersey GOP operatives told Kramer Christie’s tenure in the garden state “has earned him support from voters across the country.”
That does sound like the door is opening a crack.
Should Gov. Christie run for the White House? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.