Christie Tour Begins in D.C. With CEO Chat

By David Cruz

The more Gov. Chris Christie denies he’s thinking about running for president, the more he gets asked about it, and the more he gets asked about it, the more potential voters start to consider the concept. It is against that backdrop that the governor has begun branching out in both geography and subject matter. To wit his appearance yesterday before the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, where he answered questions on a variety of subjects, including, of course, whether he’s going to serve a full term as governor.

“If I decide to run and I win I won’t. If I don’t I will. I don’t have to make that decision now,” he told the group during a question and answer session last night. “I think people who make that decision — and I think the folks who run businesses here know this: When you make decisions before it’s the right time to make them, you increase geometrically, the chance to screw that decision up.”

Christie is headed to Arizona next, where he will speak before the McCain Institute of International Leadership and is expected to take his seat as the Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, a position that will give him national influence and millions to toss around for his party’s gubernatorial candidates. His recent landslide win in Blue New Jersey has made him a poster boy for bipartisanship, and he’s not shy about assessing blame when it comes to the failure of bipartisanship in Washington.

“I think first and foremost it’s the president,” he said. “Because if you’re the executive, you’re responsible for making that happen. If I had to wait for the leaders of the state legislature to come to me and build consensus, I’m going to be waiting forever. They’re legislators; they’re elected not to lead. That’s it. Members of a legislature, members of Congress, they don’t have a responsibility to lead and they always have an excuse, if you let them. The executive is the one who’s held responsible.”

For a guy who’s been so coy about running, establishment Republicans anyway, are promoting him as the man who might be able to fix Washington, and in turn, America.

“That’s part of the problem with the culture here,” he said when asked to sum up an answer quickly. “It’s that somebody thinks I can solve the problems with Obamacare in 14 minutes. Solve the health care crisis in 14 minutes. And then 30 seconds on Iran, and 22 seconds on Syria. We’ll solve the whole thing; we’ll carve it up. These are complex problems and people are tired of these focus group tested, blow dried answers that people give that all sound the same.”

The governor says he’s got a lot to do in his second term, including further education reforms and reshaping the state’s top court. He will be watched closely in Trenton and around the country by pundits who will wonder which of his decisions are made with the state in mind and which are targeted at a larger, national audience.