Trenton, N.J. — Bill Christie, Gov. Chris Christie’s father, tells National Review Online that his son will make the final decision about a presidential bid. But as the governor mulls, he can count his father as one of many Republicans who would support him, should he jump into the presidential primary. “I know he’d be a great president,” Mr. Christie says. “He has always been a leader. I think he would beat [President] Obama.”
But don’t get too excited. “I’ve never asked him if he’s going to run,” Mr. Christie cautions. “I trust if it’s going to happen, I’d be hearing it from him. I tell him, just let me hear any good news, but let me hear it first, or at least before you announce it to the world.” Christie’s brother, Todd, he notes, is “very close to him and might know more than me. I don’t try to get into it.”
Of course, Mr. Christie doesn’t mind the chatter. “It’s been a great experience,” he laughs. “It’s good to be the father of someone who’s respected. I’m enjoying it. I’m into politics.” The key thing about 2012, he says, is ousting Obama, and whether it’s his son or someone else as the nominee, he is interested in helping the country move in a more conservative direction.
Reflecting on the boomlet, Mr. Christie is surprised, and flattered as a father, about how intense it has become. “You never expect what’s happening,” he says. “It’s like a pipe dream. It was really quick. In some ways, it’s fulfilling and rewarding to see that this has happened. The thing I love about it is, Chris is a smart guy, he deals with people well, and he doesn’t take a lot of B.S. Sure, there are those who say the ‘New Jersey’ style won’t go over across the country. But I think that’s wrong. I think most people like the approach. Like Reagan, you sit and listen, but when you’re asked to contribute, you lead.”
Mr. Christie, a 78-year-old retired accountant, did not attend the governor’s speech Tuesday at the Reagan library, but he did watch it on television. He was “so proud,” he tells me, to see his son, the governor’s wife, Mary Pat Christie, and Todd sitting in the front row next to Nancy Reagan. “It was fabulous,” he says. “To see them walk in with her added a lot of class. To see all three, for a dad, nothing is better than that.”
This morning, as usual, he clicked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, which he watches religiously, to hear the buzz about his son and the presidential field. “I like how he has won over Mika,” he chuckles. “Isn’t that great how that’s happened? I think she’s come to respect him. As long as you get respect from people, everything else follows.”