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Christie Calls 2016 GOP Frontrunner Status ‘Meaningless’

Recent Poll Finds Christie Leading For 2016 Contest With 24 Percent
Gov. Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks to the media on Nov. 5, 2013. (credit: Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said he does not think much about his status as front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Christie described the designation as “meaningless” in a race that’s three years away.

Appearing Monday at his first Statehouse news conference in Trenton since winning a landslide re-election victory, Christie said the early 2016 handicapping has no effect on him.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Christie said. “It’s December of 2013. It’s completely meaningless.”

Christie, 51, said the lead in the presidential sweepstakes can change “any number of times” between now and the 2016 primaries.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Friday finds Christie leading with 24 percent, followed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) with 13 percent.

After being reelected last month, Christie made comments that left the door open for a possible 2016 presidential run.

Speaking at Jose Marti Freshman Academy in Union City on Nov. 6, Christie said, “I got re-elected to do a job last night, and that is the job I am going to do.”

However, he did leave the door open, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported at the time.

“If the time comes and I change my mind on that and I want to do something else, I will tell the people of New Jersey I want to do something else,” Christie said.

Christie said his goal during his second term is to get thousands of Superstorm Sandy victims back into their homes, but analysts say that his increased support helps set the stage for a possible presidential run in 2016.

“He’s going to have that bi-partisan calling card,” CBS News director of elections Anthony Salvanto said last month. “I think you’re going to see him a lot in the national spotlight, certainly in the Republican party now, saying this is how you govern and this is how you govern across the aisle.”

In his victory speech the day before the comments, some of the biggest cheers came when Christie said Washington could learn from what he has done in New Jersey.

“Maybe the folks in Washington D.C. should turn on their TV’s right now and see how it’s done,” he said.

Christie was courted to run for president, then vice president, in 2012.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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.)