While most of the United States turns its focus back to the presidential election Tuesday, much of New Jersey will still be recuperating from Hurricane Sandy. And when President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are sweating over exit polls, it’s easy to picture New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sitting back and thinking about his political future.
Christie earned praise for putting on a brave face and leading his state through Sandy’s devastation but dismayed some fellow Republicans with his lavish praise for Obama's response to the disaster.
Even before the storm hit, Christie told the Newark Star-Ledger, “I appreciated the president’s outreach today in making sure that we know he’s watching this and is concerned about the health and welfare and safety of the people of the state of New Jersey.”
In the waning days of a tight presidential election, Christie kept the love for Obama coming during an interview on NBC, saying, “The president has been outstanding in this."
When the anchors on “Fox and Friends” asked him about the race he refused to get involved in the fray.
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“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested," Christie said. "I have got a job to do here in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do.
“If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me.”
There’s no shortage of pundits to expect that last statement to change, and quick. Statistician and New York Times blogger Nate Silver gave Obama a 91.4 percent chance to win the Electoral College on the night before the election. It was a controversial prediction, but if it rings true and Obama serves for four more years, the expectation is Christie will run in 2016.
It’s also possible that he’s jumped ship from what could be a sinking Romney campaign. After months of being one of the candidate's biggest supporters, Christie reportedly refused to join Romney at a campaign event in Morrisville, Pa., a short distance from his Statehouse in Trenton. While the GOP candidate thanked Christie for working so hard for his constituents, other were less forgiving.
“You can’t tell me he couldn’t have gone over there for a night rally,” a source inside the Romney campaign told the Huffington Post.
There’s also the recent report that Christie was among the final choices for Republican vice presidential candidates but was ruled out because strategists thought his aggressive persona would outshine Romney. If Obama wins again, though, Christie’s blunt persona could be exactly what the Republicans will be in the market for.