Christie Passes On 2012 Presidential Run

BY David Chalian  October 4, 2011 at 9:07 AM EDT

1:45 p.m. ET | Read more and see video of Christie’s news conference: Christie: ‘Now is Not My Time’

11:20 a.m. ET | New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has reportedly decided against running for president in 2012.

Chris Christie not running for president in 2012, source says , Washington Post

Christie Won’t Run for President, Advisers Say, New York Times

Chris Christie Not Running for President, ABC News

The latest round of speculation surrounding a potential Christie candidacy hit a fever pitch in the last couple of weeks as several high powered Republican donors, elected officials, and supporters urged him to reconsider his previous refusals to enter the fray.

Christie is set to make his intentions known at a 1:00 pm ET press conference in Trenton, N.J. Stay with the Rundown for updates.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at a Reform Agenda Town Hall meeting at the New Jersey Manufacturers Company facility March 29, 2011 in Hammonton, N.J. Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

Imagine for a moment that you are Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.

You are beseeched by big money donors, elected officials, party elders, and energized Republican voters to run for president.

You wake up Tuesday morning to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that shows the following:

  • Gov. Rick Perry has lost nearly 45 percent of his support over the last month

  • Mitt Romney, the frontrunner yet again, shows an inability to get north of 25 percent support

  • Herman Cain surges to tie Rick Perry in second place at 16 percent

  • 42 percent, a new low in ABC/Washington Post polling, approve of Obama’s job performance

  • 55 percent of Americans (who like to be with a winner) believe Mr. Obama will lose in 2012

And it appears Christie understood the polling on the one hot button issue he touched on in his Reagan Library speech last week.

Per ABC News pollster Gary Langer:

“. . . by 50 to 18 percent Americans are more likely to oppose a candidate who favors providing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, a policy of Perry’s in Texas.”

Now, ask yourself, ‘With this kind of fluidity in the GOP field and with roughly 91 days to go before the Iowa caucuses do I take the plunge knowing such an opportunity is unlikely to present itself in my lifetime? Or do I spare myself the potential damage to a carefully crafted political brand I have parlayed to much success in the Blue State of New Jersey?”

Tune in over the next 24 hours as the real Gov. Christie answers that very question for himself and the nation.

MOUNTAIN STATE MATCH-UP

Tuesday’s gubernatorial special election in West Virginia pits acting Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin against Republican businessman Bill Maloney, but the outcome of the contest could hinge on someone whose name is not on the ballot — President Obama.

In the past week the Republican Governors Association has come out with a television ad tying Tomblin to the president’s healthcare reform law, charging the Democrat with doing “absolutely nothing” to fight the implementation of the legislation in West Virginia. The RGA has spent $3.4 million on the race, with the bulk of the expenditures coming since mid-September.

The left-leaning Public Policy Polling released a survey Monday showing the race had closed to a dead heat, with Tomblin now holding a narrow 47-46 advantage. Maloney had trailed Tomblin by 33 points in a PPP poll released in April.

“The public polls show that while West Virginia voters were already tiring of Earl Ray Tomblin’s 36-year political career in which he has repeatedly put his self-interests ahead of those of the taxpayers, Tomblin’s support of Obamacare has made things even worse for him,” contends RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf.

On that point, Maloney agrees. “I think it has played a factor. [Tomblin] is tied to Obama,” Maloney said Monday, according to WCHS Radio. “He’s actively supported Obamacare, and we’re going to get rid of Obamacare. We’ll be the next state to get rid of it.”

The Democratic Governors Association, meanwhile, has invested $2.4 million into the contest, almost all of it coming in the form of television media. DGA spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith says “it’s not a surprise that the race has tightened,” citing the millions of dollars spent by Republicans attacking Tomblin.

For his part, Tomblin’s message to West Virginia voters has been to stay the course, positioning himself as the heir to Joe Manchin, who resigned as governor last year upon winning his election to the Senate. (Manchin successfully withstood GOP efforts to tie him to Mr. Obama in 2010, even going so far as to fire a bullet through the president’s cap-and-trade bill to assert his independence.)

“I have a great deal of confidence,” Tomblin said Monday at a campaign stop in Charleston. “With our broad base of support that we have across West Virginia, we look forward to a big victory.”

For national Democrats, any victory will do, in order to avoid the headlines that the president once again might have cost the party a special election race in a place where Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans.

Polls in West Virginia open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7:30 p.m. ET.

For election results be sure to check the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.

SHOW-ME STATE NO-SHOW

Speaking of not wanting to be too closely linked to the president, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who faces difficult re-election prospects next year, will skip Mr. Obama’s visit to St. Louis Tuesday.

The president narrowly lost Missouri to John McCain in 2008, but the Show-Me State is not likely to show the president much electoral love in 2012.

McCaskill’s decision to stay behind in Washington will allow her to avoid giving Republicans video of her and the president to be used in a future television ad — like clip that Republican Roy Blunt used effectively during the 2010 midterms to suggest Democrat Robin Carnahan would have been a “rubber stamp” for Mr. Obama’s agenda.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has seized on McCaskill’s move, releasing a web video Tuesday that questions why she won’t campaign with the president — using past clips from the senator praising Mr. Obama. (The video also brings back the controversy surrounding McCaskill’s taxpayer-funded use of a private jet she and her husband owned.)


With the president’s approval ratings at all-time lows, look for other red and purple state lawmakers to be creating some separation between themselves and Mr. Obama heading into next year’s campaign.

OBAMA’S GAY MARRIAGE EVOLUTION

President Obama announced last December that his views on same-sex marriage are evolving.

Monday he told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he is “still working on it.”

No Democratic strategist in Washington believes it will be possible for a candidate opposed to same-sex marriage to win the Democratic nomination in 2016. But it is still hard to find one who believes President Obama will flip-flop (or conclude his “evolution”) on the issue prior to the November 2012 election.

In a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 42 percent of Americans said they are more apt to oppose a presidential candidate who favors a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage compared to 25 percent who say they are more apt to support someone with that position.

There is little doubt that the American public has moved dramatically in favor of same-sex marriage over the last five to seven years, but clearly not to the degree to convince President Obama or his campaign team that his continued opposition to same-sex marriage will present any kind of an electoral liability next fall.

Here is his exchange on the topic with Stephanopoulos Monday:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’ve said your position is evolving. You said you’re struggling with it. What more do you need to know?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well– you know– I probably won’t– make news right now, George. But I– I think that there’s no doubt that– as I see– friends, families– children of gay couples– who are thriving– you know, that– that has an impact on how I think about these issues. It’s also one of the reasons that I made the decision for us not to defend– The Defense of Marriage Act, which– I believe violated the Constitution. And, you know, is going to be– decided in the courts probably– in the next– next few terms.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You think you’ll change your mind before the election?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know– I– I’m– I’m– still working on it.

ON THE TRAIL

All events listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama holds a pair of afternoon fundraisers in Dallas before delivering remarks on the American Jobs Act at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas, at 3:55 p.m. He then travels to St. Louis for a pair of evening fundraisers before returning to Washington.

  • Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann holds a media availability in Des Moines, Iowa, at 11:30 a.m., hosts a meet and greet in Newton at 5 p.m., and attends a Family Leader fundraiser in Grinnell at 6:30 p.m.

  • Mitt Romney holds a town hall in The Villages, Fla., at 2:50 p.m.

  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attends a documentary film screening in Columbia, S.C., at 6:30 p.m. and overnights at the South Carolina governor’s residence.

All future campaign events can be found on our Political Calendar.

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