Nightly News   |  November 03, 2013

It’s beginning to look a lot like 2016

NJ Gov. Chris Christie may be focused on his reelection campaign, but others see it as his next step toward the 2016 presidential race. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>>> we turn to politics and even if it is three years to the next presidential election , it might not have seemed that way this weekend. as new jersey's republican governor chris christie campaigned for re-election and democrat hillary clinton received an enthusiastic endorsement. kelly o'donnell is on the trail with christie and hints of 2016 .

>> riding a double digit lead in the polls and a week-long bus tour. governor christie 's campaign style is jersey personal. wrapping an arm around voters, posing for voters in a packed diner today.

>> in new jersey, we can handle his abruptness and the so-called bully. but i think that the other parts of the country may not respond well to that.

>> when you listen to me you don't wonder what i'm thinking.

>> reporter: christie has done his part to stump the 2016 speculation. are you trying to be a different kind of republican in this race?

>> i'm just trying to be me. you can decide whether that's different or not. i'm just me.

>> reporter: with the republican party bruised nationally, its defeated candidate mitt romney talked up christie 's chances on "meet the press."

>> chris could easily become our nominee and save our party and help get this nation on the right track again them don't come better than chris christie .

>> reporter: today president obama gained the campaign trail. the president who did not campaign for christie 's new jersey governor did turn out for terry mcauliffe as democrats hope to take back the state house .

>> i hope you're toward fight for terry because he's ready to fight for you for the next four years.

>> reporter: mcauliffe, a long time friend of the clintons, raised the 2016 clinton when hillary clinton appeared for him last month in her first political speech since leaving the state department . and democrats answered the christie buzz as new york senator chuck schumer served up an early endorsement.

>> 2016 is hilary's time. run, run. if you run, you'll win and we'll all win.

>> reporter: and this is the last stop on governor christie 's bus tour today. he tell me that he hopes his voters will turn out on tuesday and maybe push him above 50% of the vote. if that happens, it would be the first time a republican had pulled that off in new jersey in 25 years. that, christie says, would send a message about his future prospects.