New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may be running for re-election but he kept the door open to a 2016 presidential run on Tuesday, saying he will not make a decision about his political future "until I have to.”
"As we go forward, I'm going to continue to do my job the best way I possibly can and I am not going to declare tonight... that I am or I'm not running for president," Christie said. "The people out there in New Jersey don't expect me to, they expect me to do my job."
His opponent, Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono has tried to make it an issue in the gubernatorial race, arguing that Christie is putting his own ambitions ahead of the people of New Jersey. She accused the governor of barring tougher gun control laws and vetoing legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state to appeal to conservatives whose support he would need for a future presidential bid.
"I can walk and chew gum at the same time," Christie said, responding to the critique.
"The fact is, people have been talking about me running for president in this state since 2010. They all said I was going to do it in 2012. I said I wouldn't and I didn't. And the fact is after 2017, I'm going to be looking for a new job anyway," he added.
The tough-talking Garden State Republican is a heavily speculated about potential 2016 president candidate. Since his election in 2009, Christie has made multiple pilgrimages to the early caucus and primary states and was a keynote speaker at last year's Republican National Convention.
Polls show the Christie with a comfortable lead ahead of the Nov. 5 election. He has out raised Buono by nearly a 4-to-1 margin and racked up a bevy of endorsement from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Also during Tuesday night's debate, Christie said he would be open to publicly releasing his medical records. Christie's weight and physical fitness have often accompanied talks about any presidential ambitions. Earlier this year Christie underwent gastric-banding surgery meant to bring down his weight.
"I'm happy to make medical reports public," he said. "And the fact is that people see whether you're fit for the job by whether you do the job or not."
First published October 8 2013, 6:45 PM