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Friday, June 13, 2014
Chris Christie the Governor of New Jersey and potential Republican Presidential runner for 2016
On December 7, 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Christie the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Some members of the New Jersey Bar professed disappointment at Christie's lack of experience. At the time, he had never practiced in a federal courtroom before, and had little experience in criminal law. Concerns were also raised about his history as a top fundraiser for Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. He helped raise $350,000 for Bush, qualifying him as a "Pioneer". Democrats seized upon the role played by Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, after Christie's law partner, William Palatucci, a Republican political consultant and Bush supporter, boasted that he had selected a United States attorney by forwarding Christie's résumé to Rove. According to New Jersey's senior Senator, Bob Torricelli, Christie promised to appoint a "professional" with federal courtroom experience as deputy if confirmed. By Senate tradition, if a state's senior Senator opposes the nomination of a U.S. Attorney, the nomination is effectively dead, but Christie's promise was enough for Torricelli to give the nomination his blessing. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senateon December 20, 2001, and sworn into office on January 17, 2002.
The brother of Christie's uncle (his aunt's second husband) was an organized crime figure; according to Christie, the FBIpresumably knew that when they conducted his background check. Later, Christie recused himself and commented about what he had learned growing up with such a relative: "It just told me that you make bad decisions in life and you wind up paying a price."
Christie is considered a leader of the Republican Party. He was the subject of ongoing speculation that he would attempt a run for President of the United States in 2012 by competing in the Republican primaries. Through 2013 he denied any interest in launching a presidential bid. In September 2011, a number of press stories cited unnamed sources indicating Christie was reconsidering his decision to stay out of the race. An Associated Press story dated September 30 indicated a decision on whether he would run for president in 2012 would be made "soon". In a late September speech at theReagan Library, he had again said he was not a candidate for president, but the speech also coincided with his "reconsideration" of the negative decision. One commentator at that time reviewed reported support from David H. andCharles G. Koch, Kenneth Langone, and others for Christie's potential candidacy. Retired General Electric CEO Jack Welch went on the Charlie Rose Show to articulate his and others' support for a candidacy, and Langone went on the interview show October 4.
Decision not to run in 2012
On October 4, 2011, Christie acknowledged he had in fact reconsidered his decision but then, again, declined to run. It was "for real this time", as one report put it. "Now is not my time", Christie said. "New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me," Christie added in the one-hour Trenton press conference held to announce the decision. On October 11, 2011, Christie endorsed Mitt Romney for president.
The New York Post has cited anonymous sources as saying Christie was not willing to give up the governorship to be Mitt Romney's running mate because he had doubts about their ability to win. The Romney campaign was reported to have asked him to resign his governorship if he became the vice-presidential nominee because "pay to play" laws restrict campaign contributions from financial corporation executives to governors running for federal office when the companies do business with the governor's state. A memo from the campaign attributed Romney's decision not to choose Christie as his running mate, in part to unanswered questions during the vetting process regarding a defamation lawsuit following Christie's initial campaign for Morris County Freeholder, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Christie's brother, as well as his weight.
2016 Presidential nomination
Some political commentators view Christie as a leading contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016. According to polls conducted after the George Washington Bridge scandal, Christie sustained a substantial erosion in his political standing and his 2016 presidential campaign prospects, and polls show him behind Hillary Clinton in general election polling.
In March 2014, Christie gave a foreign policy speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition also attended by other Republican presidential hopefuls. In it, Christie said that everyone he met in Israel during his visit, wanted America to be an "unblinking, unwavering unquestioning friend" but worried that this was no longer true. He said that he is in the business to win elections and not just arguments, saying "If we want to just have arguments and stand for nothing, we could just form a university." Christie said he was overwhelmed by displays of religious tolerance during his recent trip to Jerusalem and used the term "occupied territories" in reference to lands in dispute. Christie later apologized to Sheldon Adelson for using that term, which is rejected by conservative Zionists who see it as validating Palestinian views.
In an interview on Fox News on March 31, 2014, Christie stated that he is still in "decision-making process" regarding a possible run in 2016, and forwarded the names of Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan as his top three GOP candidate choices.