With the urging of George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger and Nancy Reagan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in what is beginning to feel rather like Groundhog Day, is said to be giving serious thought to jumping into the GOP presidential ring, the New York Post reported.
And the announcement may come as soon as Monday, according to sources close to Christie.
The New Jersey governor has vowed many times that he won't be running for president in 2012. Last year he even went this far to say it: Short of suicide, I don't really know what I'd have to do to convince you people that I'm not running. I'm not running!
But the encouragement of Kissinger, Bush and Reagan, is said to have him thinking he might change his mind. Even Christie's wife, Mary Pat, has been warming to the idea of a presidential run.
It's more than just flattering, a source close to Christie said, adding that he has the ability not only to be president, but to win it.
According to the Post, something also changed the night Christie gave a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Tuesday night.
We need you. Your country needs you to run for president, one woman pleaded after Christie's speech.
Christie's father, Bill Christie, stirred the pot a little Wednesday when he told the National Review Online that he thought his son would be able to win the White House. He has always been a leader, the elder Christie said. I think he would beat Obama.
But Todd Christie, the governor's brother, said a Tuesday that run was out of the question. If he's lying to me, I'll be as stunned as I've even been in my life, he told the Newark Star-Ledger.
Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, a Sept. 11 commission co-chairman who has reportedly known Christie since he was a teenager, stoked the rumor mill, too, Monday when he told The National Review Online that the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple weeks ago that Christie might run, Fox News reported.
I know he's getting advice from all sides, Kean told NRO. He's not going to tease anybody.
Insiders say Christie is ready to put a presidential campaign together pretty fast, which would be a requirement as key primary ballots are only weeks away. It is also reported that his top advisers had sketched out a finance plan that could be used promptly.
Fueling even further the speculation is Christie's current tour, where he is attending seven fundraisers in three states. But a source close to the governor said the fundraisers have been planned for months and are not indicative of a change in attitude toward a 2012 run.
I think the governor started something two years ago and we've got much further along in our agenda than we anticipated, said New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Monday, trying to dismiss the rumors that Christie's speech at the Reagan library is more than a speech. I could easily get used to this, but I don't think the governor is going to run for president.
Christie has seen uptick popularity lately. In a Farleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released Tuesday, 54 percent of New Jersey voters approve of his performance, while 36 disapprove; that's up from a 44 percent split in May. The polling followed praise for the Christie's handling of Hurricane Irene in August and the signing of his pension and health benefit overhaul for public workers.
The New Jersey governor also added to the speculation himself when he told an audience at New Jersey's Rider University that neither Democratic or GOP leaders satisfy the public's desire for real leadership.
I think what the country is thirsting for, more than anything else right now, is someone of stature and credibility to tell them that and say, 'Here's where I want us to go to deal with this crisis, Christie said. The fact that nobody yet who's running for president, in my view, has done that effectively is why you continue to hear people ask [Gov. Mitch Daniels] if he'll reconsider and ask me if I'll reconsider.