Chris Christie Not Running for President, for Real This Time [Updated]

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Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

For the past year, Chris Christie has denied any interest in running for president in the most Shermanesque ways imaginable. He said he didn't have the fire in his belly. He admitted he wasn't ready for it. He said he would kill himself if you kept asking him. But in the past week or so, Christie seemed to at least entertain the idea of a presidential run. As New York's John Heilemann wrote this week, the timing couldn't be more perfect. He'd face a weak incumbent and a weak primary field. He'd have the backing of a party and conservative-media elite largely dissatisfied with phony, flip-floppy Mitt Romney and stuttering, immigrant-loving Rick Perry. And 2016 could be vastly more inhospitable to a run — a Republican president could be up for reelection, and even if it's an open race, star GOP maybe-candidates like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Bobby Jindal could overshadow Christie. Christie might not even win reelection as governor of New Jersey in 2013.

And yet, Christie has decided that 2012 just isn't his year. All that stuff about not being ready, about not having the fire in his impressive belly — he wasn't making it up.

At an unusually long press conference at the State House in Trenton, Christie reaffirmed his commitment to finish the job in New Jersey, where he's only served as governor since January of 2010. “New Jersey,” he said to chuckles, “whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me.” While the governor insisted that "the answer was never anything but no," he also claimed that he only made his final decision last night, after reconsidering his adamant denials in the face of pressure to run from Republican dignitaries and "regular folks" alike. Oddly enough, one of those regular folks was a farmer in Nebraska, who wrote a letter not to Christie, but to Christie's kids:

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