New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Thursday said he can remain friends with the Bush family and run against Jeb Bush should he decide to enter the Republican presidential primary race. “I don’t think it means it has to end a relationship between me and Jeb or me and the President and Laura,” Christie said during his monthly “Ask the Governor” appearance on a New Jersey radio station.
Pressed about renewed rumblings this week that he will soon jump into the 2016 contest, Christie joked, “What did I do? I didn’t do anything. I don’t understand what you’re talking about. I gave a ‘State of the State’ speech.” Rather, Christie insisted he has not yet decided about his future. “What I have told everybody, supporters of mine, potential donors of mine, staff, is relax. No one is voting for another 12 and a half months.” Christie said he will not be rushed, “so everybody just calm down.”
Given such an open field for both parties, Christie said Republicans will be well served by a competitive and large field of candidates. “If its a smart, respectful, substantive debate, that’s good for the party.”
While other candidates are locking up donors and top campaign operatives, Christie said their actions will not force his hand, “The entry or withdrawal of any one particular candidate, or a number of them, will not determine what I do,” Christie said.
Amid reports that Christie may launch a PAC as early as this month to fund his political activities and travel, the governor said only, “There’s a whole bunch of options on the table but I haven’t made any final decisions about what to do.”
Christie will travel to Iowa Friday to attend the inauguration of Gov. Terry Branstad. Wednesday, Christie was on hand for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s swearing in and said he did no fundraising in that critical early primary state. “I didn’t meet with donors in South Carolina,” Christie said, “I didn’t ask anybody for any money.”Christie will complete his duties as the outgoing chairman of the Republican Governors Association on Jan. 21 when he attends the final inauguration of the season for Maryland’s Gov.-Elect Larry Hogan. Christie brushed off suggestions that his heavy travel schedule harms his ability to serve as New Jersey’s top executive. Christie referred to his many electronic devices and even in-flight wireless access to email, saying, “This is not the 1800s. Its not even the 1970s. We’re in touch all the time and my ability to communicate with folks is unimpeded.”
Prompted by the interviewer, Christie knocked his vocal critics labeling them the “same partisan hacks who wake up every morning waiting to criticize me.” While he insisted attacks don’t get under his skin, he also said “anybody who tells you they like criticism is lying.”