Nightly News   |  October 01, 2011

Republican Party holds its breath

As Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s poll numbers sink, conservatives are hoping New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will being his “no-nonsense” style to the race. NBC’s Mike Viqueira reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the republican candidates for president are on the trail again this weekend with just three months until the first primary voters go to the polls. but as romney, perry and company stump for support, some party leaders and deep pocket donors are hole holding their breath waiting to hear from a certain governor. nbc's mike have kara, will he of won't he?

>> reporter: chris christie has said no too many times to count, has said his heart isn't in it. but tonight chris christie is said to be giving the race a second look. today on the trail, republicans on the move and on the hustings.

>> we are ready for a problem solver in the white house .

>> reporter: but behind the scenes , the party is holding its breath. waiting for this man, new jersey governor chris christie , and his answer to gop activists and donors who are urging him to run.

>> he is a straight-talking, matter of fact kind of governor who has kept property taxes , has reined in pension costs for teachers and unions, sort of tells it like it is.

>> reporter: while his no nonsense style has won him conservative backing.

>> you don't send your children to public schools , you send them to private schools . so i was wondering why you think it's fair to be cutting school funding to public schools .

>> first off it's none of your business.

>> reporter: his stance encore party issues could cost him support. as a federal prosecutor in 2008 , christie said on immigration "being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime". this week rick perry was heckled by conservatives who see him as soft on immigration. an instant frontrunner and favorite of the right when he entered the race six weeks ago, perry's polls are now sinking. christie 's positions on gun control, global warming and even taxes, while far from liberal, are not in sync with conservative orthodoxy. if he does run christie could be in for a tough primary season.

>> if he had gotten in the race eight or nine months ago, he could have had that shakedown cruise . and the thing is, chris christie ought to be look at rick perry 's problems and say, you know, i may not be rick perry , but some of those problems i would probably face if i got in.

>> reporter: still, many believe that in the end, republicans will show some flexibility if it means defeating president obama next fall.

>> what they're looking for is who's the most conservative republican that you can get into the white house . and i think that that's probably the threshold that you're looking at at this point.

>> reporter: and if chris christie does decide to run he really would have to make that decision soon, perhaps within the next few days. the primary season is starting earlier than ever next year. gist after the new year. that would only give him three months to start to organize and raise campaign cash.

>> mike vaquera in washington tonight.