Efforts to Woo Chris Christie Into the GOP Race Intensify

BY David Chalian  September 27, 2011 at 9:03 AM EDT


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

It’s decision time for Chris Christie. If he wants to reverse course and take the presidential plunge, he is going to need to do so quickly as state ballot deadlines approach.

The New Jersey governor wakes up in Missouri Tuesday morning, where he raised some coin for the N.J. GOP. He heads to California later Tuesday and is scheduled to deliver a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, entitled “Real American Exceptionalism.”

He will focus his remarks on how the United States’ role on the world stage is shaped by “who we are at home,” according to a spokeswoman’s preview to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

That’s not the usual fare for the Garden State governor, but he’s clearly playing to a wider audience tonight.

He’ll head to Louisiana later this week to round out his three-state fundraising swing before returning back home.

With so much expected plane time, Christie can give lots of thought to the intensified entreaties coming his way from Republicans who are still actively seeking someone that they can get excited about (not Mitt Romney) — who can also play to a general election electorate (perhaps not Rick Perry).

The New York Times’ Confessore takes a look at the money men wooing Christie:

“In recent months, Christie enthusiasts have lighted up the phone
lines between Manhattan and Trenton trying to persuade the governor to
enter the Republican field amid growing concern about the current
contenders.

Several dozen potential Christie backers attended a meeting in July
convened by Mr. Langone to introduce the governor to top-shelf
Republican donors, many of them on the sidelines so far in the 2012
campaign. Others saw him in action in June, when Mr. Christie quietly
flew to Colorado to speak at a private retreat hosted by Mr. Koch and
his brother, Charles, another prominent Republican donor.

And while Mr. Christie has so far resisted their entreaties, he is
facing a renewed effort in recent days following stumbles by Gov. Rick
Perry of Texas, whose debate performances and stances on Social
Security, immigration and other issues have left many major donors
looking again for someone they think can take on Mr. Obama next year.”

The New York Post’s Margolin on the political heavy hitters:

“Among the prominent former party leaders now pushing hardest for
Christie to jump into the crowded presidential field are former
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the Bush family, sources said.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush even reached out to Christie’s wife,
Mary Pat, to convince her that their children and family would be able
to thrive in the White House despite the fishbowl-like attention,
according to one Christie intimate.”

The New Jersey Star-Ledger’s Magerian and Gibson on the party elder
statesman:

“He’s giving it a lot of thought,” former Gov. Tom Kean told the
National Review. “I think the odds are a lot better now than they were
a couple weeks ago.”

HEALTH CARE AND THE HIGH COURT

The Obama administration’s decision to not seek further review of the president’s signature health care law by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals may result in the U.S. Supreme Court handing down a final decision in the middle of next year’s presidential election.

Most legal observers have long believed that the Supreme Court would have to be the final arbiter on President Obama’s health care legislation, and specifically the constitutionality of the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or face a fine.

In June 2012, the Republican nominee will likely have just spent a month making his/her party whole again after a bruising nomination season. The GOP veepstakes frenzy will be at a fever pitch. The Obama campaign will be adjusting to the realities of the new political map and launching its most offensive phase of its campaign against the GOP
nominee to date. Americans will be fully tuned in and paying close attention to the choices before them in the presidential election.

Now imagine a 5-4 decision on President Obama’s most controversial piece of legislation since taking office, and how that impacts the politics of the moment.

It could be the second coming of Bush v. Gore.

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post has more:

“The Justice Department said Monday evening that it had decided not to
ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta to
take up the case. A three-member panel of the court last month decided
2-1 that Congress overstepped its authority in passing the Affordable
Care Act, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain health
insurance.

Although the department declined further comment, the logical next
step for the Obama administration is to ask the justices to make what
would be the final determination on the law’s fate.

Appeals courts that have considered the question are split.”

SHUTDOWN AVERTED

Democrats didn’t get the full level of disaster funding they had hoped for, and Republicans were denied the spending offsets they had demanded, but at the end of the day Monday, lawmakers managed to avoid a government shutdown this Friday.

The sticking point had been over money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help with disaster relief for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Republicans had demanded that the fresh infusion of $1 billion in funds be partially offset with cuts to an auto loan program favored by congressional Democrats.

The Washington Post’s Paul Kane and Rosalind Helderman report that a revision in FEMA’s math helped the two sides break the impasse.

“The showdown between the two sides was averted on Monday, when FEMA said it could make ends meet through the end of the week. That led to an agreement that calls for the agency and other government disaster relief programs to forgo the $1 billion in proposed funding for this week. Beginning Saturday and running to Nov. 18, FEMA can begin to tap the remaining $2.65 billion for ongoing efforts.

With the House out of session this week, the Senate approved a resolution that will keep the government open through next Tuesday. The House is expected to approve that extension in a voice vote Thursday, which does not require all members to be present, and then approve the longer-term bill next Tuesday.”

RUBIO’S RISE

Often mentioned as a top contender for the Republican Party’s vice presidential nomination in 2012, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio might be wise to leave a few blank pages at the end of his upcoming memoir, just in case.

The freshman senator and Tea Party darling, whose improbable surge forced then Gov. Charlie Crist to abandon his 2010 GOP primary campaign and run as an independent, announced Monday that he planned to put his life story down on paper.

“I’d like to tell a little bit about my upbringing, and how my upbringing has led me to some of the policy conclusions I’ve reached,” Rubio told the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo. “And I’d like to tell about the campaign, my time in the Legislature.”

Rubio told the Associated Press, meanwhile, that the memoir is not about “creating a profile” to seek higher office. “It’s more about communicating,” Rubio said.

The Floridian also told the AP that he did not intend to model his book after any author in particular, but he did praise President Obama’s memoir, “Dreams of my Father,” and policy-driven effort, “The Audacity of Hope.”

“I don’t agree with him on a lot of public policy, but I thought (Obama’s books) were very well-written and interesting,” Rubio said.

Rubio probably wouldn’t mind similar book sales, either.

ON THE TRAIL

All events listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama delivers remarks on the American Jobs Act in Denver, Colo. at 4:15 p.m.

  • Texas Rep. Ron Paul holds three Iowa town halls, in Dubuque at 1 p.m., in Clinton at 3 p.m., and in Muscatine at 5 p.m., before attending the Story County GOP Chili Supper in Nevada, Iowa at 7 p.m.

  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich holds a meet & greet in Doylestown, Penn., at 2 p.m., and later screens his Reagan documentary in Philadelphia at 6:30 p.m.

For future campaign events, check out our Political Calendar.

For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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