Just one more nugget to add to the “Will Chris Christie run?” rumor mill: The New York Times is now reporting that the governor’s political advisers are conducting a serious assessment of what it would take to launch effective primary campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire, with just 100 days or so until voting is set to start. (Perhaps less than that, now that Florida has selfishly ransacked the whole primary calendar.) While Christie insists at every possible opportunity that he has no intention of running, this latest development clearly indicates that party activists and political heavy hitters — including Rupert Murdoch, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, and conservative columnist William Kristol — are starting to talk Christie into their corner. “If the odds of a campaign were very low just weeks ago, they are increasing,” the Times article said.
A hastily put together campaign would upend what two of Mr. Christie’s advisers said was his original plan: to consider running for president in 2016. But with President Obama looking more vulnerable, and with dissatisfaction among some voters and influential party leaders with the current Republican field, Mr. Christie is said by those close to him to feel that his best opportunity to run might be now.
New York’s own John Heilemann points out that Christie’s 2012-versus-2016 quandary is not unlike the 2004-versus-2008 question that once faced Hillary Clinton. She ultimately chose the latter, believing it her time to shine and foregoing a much weaker field of candidates in 2004. Similarly, with no one arguing that what the Republicans currently have is a strong field, were Christie to opt for 2016 he might face a by-then popular Republican incumbent (if Obama loses), or an impossible-to-predict open field (if Obama wins reelection), much like what Hillary came into in 2008. While we really cannot mind-read the governor’s internal debate, one thing is certain: This unofficial study group is about as close as we are going to get to an “I’m definitely thinking about it” out of Chris Christie.