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Current Republican Presidential Candidates Weigh In On Possible Christie Run

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie  (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Will he run or won’t he? There are new reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reconsidering a run in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

Support has been growing for Christie to enter the 2012 presidential race. 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 a place where he should do very well.”

The unease among the Republican base around the current field of presidential hopefuls coupled with Christie’s leadership during Hurricane Irene and his passing of an overhaul of the pensions and benefits for public workers have also helped generate significant buzz around Christie for the 2012 GOP nomination.

But Christie reaffirmed in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday that he’s not running for president and at a rally in Louisiana, he ducked all questions and ignored several reporters who asked him whether he was reconsidering a bid for the White House.

Nevertheless, the current candidates are reacting to that possibility.

“I think if Chris Christie decides to run, it’s going to have the same effect as when Rick Perry got in. The media is just going to be in awe of Chris Christie for about two weeks,” said Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

“He’s a good governor. If he wants to come and play, we’d be glad to have him come. I think Gov. Perry could advise him that running for president is a little more complicated than being governor,” said Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

“I think Chris has been the governor of New Jersey a year and a half and I think he understands he has a big job to do there and there are plenty of opportunities in races down the road for him if he wants to get involved in the fray,” said Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Meanwhile, on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday morning, Bob Schieffer asked Arizona senator John McCain if he thought Christie should run. McCain said it’s a tough decision that only Christie and his family can make.

“I’m a great admirer of Governor Christie,” he said. “I think he’d be a very viable candidate.”

McCain said if Christie does decide to run, he wishes him luck, but said “the swimming pool looks a lot better until you jump right in.”

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane With More

Also on “Face the Nation” was Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who said Christie would bring “tremendous entertainment value” but little substance to the presidential race.

O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, knocked Christie’s record in New Jersey, saying he has struggled to create jobs, pointing to New Jersey’s 9.4 percent unemployment rate.

He also noted that New Jersey’s bond rating has been downgraded, and its schools have slipped in national rankings.

According to several people close to the governor, Christie is expected to make a decision as early as this week.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey governor traveled to Sea Girt Sunday to attend a National Guard event and speak with guard members.

Should Christie enter the race? Sound off in our comments section below…

(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.)

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