Hoo boy — this speech will not in and of itself tamp down 2012 speculation, minus Christie adding an extemporaneous denial. It sure as heck sounds like the speech of a guy known for his domestic achievements laying out a foreign policy vision, because he for some reason thinks he should have a foreign policy vision ready to go.
Also, Christie has historically gone relatively easy on President Obama. And while he doesn’t exactly call POTUS a traitor or a socialist here, the speech does contain some of the most specific, and barbed, criticism of the president I’ve heard from Christie. Because for some reason he thinks he should be taking aim at the president.
To be clear, I’m not saying I think Christie is going to run — I’d be shocked if he did, actually. I’m saying that this speech makes it sound like he is going to run, when he could have put the kybosh on the whole thing.
Curiouser and curiouser.
UPDATE: Christie absolutely owned the Reagan library tonight, a point made most clear during the Q& A by the earnest, trembling plea from a woman who begged, on behalf of her “daughter and granddaughter,” that Christie reconsider running for president.
“I know New Jersey needs you, but I really implore you — this isn’t funny — we can’t wait another four years,” the woman said. “We need you. Your country needs you to run for president.”
Christie responded: “I hear exactly what you’re saying and I feel the passion with which you say it and it touches me.” But Christie also said that the decision to run “has to reside inside me.”
“That’s what I’ve said all along. I know without ever having met President Reagan that he must have felt deeply in his heart that he was called at that moment to lead his country.”
Earlier in the Q&A Christie issued a classic non-denial denial. When first asked whether he was really reconsidering a run, he directed audience members to a two-minute video compilation created by POLITICO. The video strings together all the times Christie has said that he won’t run.