By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
If Gov. Chris Christie decides not to run for president, he’ll have wasted a lot of his own and other people’s time getting briefed on foreign policy.
Christie has reportedly spoken to Henry Kissinger, council on foreign relations president Richard Haassformer, former U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick, Lanhee Chen who ran the policy side of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and Condoleeza Rice.
Honcho-ing these 90 minute phone conferences or in-person meetings is Bob Grady, a Christie inner circle member who worked in the Reagan White house.
“Those are the right people to talk to. Zoellick was head of the world bank,” said former Gov.Tom Kean.
Former Gov. Kean isn’t surprised by any of this.
“I’ve talked to Henry Kissinger and Henry Kissinger sees him on a regular basis. Henry’s impressed with him. He says he’s a quick study and he’s impressed,” Kean said.
A spokesman for Haass at the council on foreign relations says, “I can confirm that Dr. Haass has briefed Chris Christie on international issues. He has talked to a number of presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, as part of CFR’s mission.”
Kean says what Christie is doing is absolutely vital.
“We are one world. What happens on the other side of the world is going to affect people in New Jersey. And we better have a president who really has a depth of understanding,” said Kean.
Christie answered a few foreign policy questions in an hour-long interview Monday night.
Most pointly on Cuba:
“It was an awful deal and it is typical of this president. Unfortunately in negotiations — the Iranian nuclear deals, extended six months at a time over and over again while they continued to move towards that nuclear capability. Now, we normalize relations with Cuba without getting anything in return, we have a hostage exchange?” said Christie.
Christie won’t touch some foreign issues like immigration. On others he can sound tentative or hawkish.
“I think he sounds a bit hawkish, but he’s much more hawkish than Hillary Clinton, for instance,” Kean said.
Are the foreign policy briefings a sign Christie is definitely running?
“I don’t think there’s any definite sign out there yet. What he’s doing is, he’s getting ready so that if he does run. If the three steps he’s talked about are all in place, if he thinks it’s right for him, if he thinks it’s right for his family, for the country — when he makes that final step, he’ll be prepared,” said Kean.
You don’t have to have foreign policy experience in order to be elected president. Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all came out of governors offices, like Christie. For that matter, Jeb Bush’s resume is a little light on foreign policy, as well.