Nightly News   |  October 03, 2011

Christie buzz grows; Perry deals with hunting camp issue

Aides say Christie is within a day or two of a final decision about running for President, as Rick Perry deals with fallout from a story published in the Washington Post. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now to the presidential politics front. The Associated Press is reporting we should know in the next 48 hours or so whether New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will become a GOP presidential candidate . And in the meantime, today's political drama had to do with the trouble for the Texas governor , Rick Perry . Our report tonight from our political director and chief White House corespondent Chuck Todd .

Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE: So congratulations, Donna .

CHUCK TODD reporting: Chris Christie today carrying out one of his official duties as governor of New Jersey . Sunday it was a more presidential looking ceremonial event, inspecting the New Jersey National Guard . Aides say Christie is within a day or two of a final decision about running for president, even asking some prominent Republicans to hold off endorsing any current candidates. But longtime GOP campaign strategists believe time may have already run out.

Mr. CHARLES BLACK (Republican Strategist): I think some of the wealthy people in New York and some of the conservative intellectuals who were pushing Christie into the race haven't thought this through.

TODD: Today, Christie got brush-off from the president.

President BARACK OBAMA: If a guy's thinking about running for president he's going to say a lot of stuff and I think in Republican primaries saying nasty stuff about me is probably polls pretty well.

TODD: The Christie buzz grows as Rick Perry 's dealing with fallout from a Washington Post report alleging a north Texas ranch leased by Perry and his dad since 1983 continued for years to have a racially offensive name painted on a large flat rock greeting visitors.

Mr. HERMAN CAIN (Republican Presidential Candidate): The N word is probably one of the most vile, negative words in our culture and I just found it insensitive that they allowed it -- that he allowed it -- his family allowed it to be there for so long.

TODD: The Perry campaign quickly responded. "Mr. Cain is wrong about the Perry family 's quick action to eliminate the word on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive." In New York today for a courtesy call to Donald Trump , Cain was asked about the latest Perry explanation.

Mr. CAIN: Yes, I'm satisfied with it. Next question.

TODD: But when pressed by reporters, Cain grew frustrated.

Mr. CAIN: I really don't care about that word. They painted over it -- over it. End of story . I think it happened way -- I accept Governor Perry 's response on that and I'm ready to talk about what's really important to the American people .

TODD: Earlier today White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also gave Rick Perry a pass. He said of the story, "The name is clearly offensive but from what I've read the governor shares that opinion, too." But Mitt Romney , Brian , was not so differential. He said, "I followed the story from afar. I think it's offensive, I think most people recognize it's offensive and with regards to the involvement the Perry folks had with this situation, well, that's something that Governor Perry has to address." So tougher words from Mitt Romney than the White House , Brian .

WILLIAMS: All right, Chuck Todd at the White House for us tonight. Chuck , thanks.