Sea Girt, N.J. — There he was, the commander-in-chief — of New Jersey.
On a visit to a National Guard facility Sunday, Gov. Chris Christie was greeted by military music and cheering troops, but remained mum about a potential presidential run. Scores of reporters, both national and local, showed up to this beachfront hamlet, hoping to hear more about his intentions. But in his first Garden State appearance since speaking at the Reagan library Tuesday, Christie kept us guessing.
He did, however, showcase his appreciation for service members, and wasn’t shy about enjoying the pomp and circumstance of his office. Before Christie addressed a crowd of veterans and active-duty soldiers, he gazed skyward, impressed by the screaming engines of three F-16 Fighting Falcons. He applauded as Blackhawk helicopters flew past the dais, which featured an oversized Old Glory backdrop. He then jumped in a Humvee and surveyed troops lining the grounds, shaking hands and chatting with officials.
But minutes later, to the chagrin of politicos, Christie stuck to his script in his brief remarks, praising the troops and their families. He thanked the National Guard for their work during Hurricane Irene. “I’ve never been prouder than I was last month,” he said. After he finished, he kept his head down and did not respond to questions from reporters about whether he will run. He simply ducked into a waiting car, his red tie and blue shirt a stark contrast to the sea of camouflage surrounding the vehicle.
According to sources, Christie returned to Trenton Thursday after a week on the road. He was in the office Friday but did not meet with reporters. On Saturday, he was with his family at his home in Mendham. He reportedly returned there this evening after his brief trip to the shore. He is expected to be at the state capitol tomorrow, but no word (yet) on whether he’ll announce a final decision about 2012.