In September, Gov. Jon Corzine gave an interesting answer to a question posed by PolitickerNJ.com: "If I stand for reelection, I will be held very specifically accountable," he said.
Two months later and just under two years into his first term in office, that prospect remains an "if," even as observers speculate to no end about whether he will and, if he does, the tough fight that could ensue between him and U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, the presumptive Republican favorite.
"I think you cross that bridge at a different point in time. I‘m not at the half-way mark, even today. People have been writing half way mark stories for six months, and quite honestly we aren't even there yet," said Corzine, who later added "I didn't enter this limiting myself to four years, and none of my thinking on that has changed."
But Corzine is willing to end the speculation that he might leave office and take a presidential cabinet position should his chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton, win the election next November. Not even as Secretary of the Treasury – the one office some observers think he'd consider.
Actually, Corzine said, if he lusts after any Washington position, it would be Chairman of the Federal Reserve. But he thinks that former New Jerseyan Ben Bernanke is doing a pretty good job there and, besides, the position won't open back up until 2010.
"I have zero expectation or desire to return to Washington. Nobody is ever going to say never, but that's not my objective, and I don't think that's at all probable," said Corzine. "You can swat that down as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather be governor."
Naturally, since Corzine hasn't made up his own mind about whether he'll seek reelection, he won't comment on the potential match against Christie that has so many reporters hankering for a good fight.
And Corzine disappoints if you're expecting him to take a jab at Christie for the recent controversy involving his hiring of the law firm of John Ashcroft, who was his boss back when he was still Attorney General, to a federal oversight position that could earn him as much as $52 million.
But Corzine acknowledged validity to some of the concerns recently expressed by Democratic U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell over the type of deferred prosecution arrangements that create oversight positions like the one given to Ashcroft.
"First of all, I don't really think it serves either the effectiveness of the U.S. Attorney or my effectiveness to even get into discussing that issue," said Corzine. "Second of all, it is probably a fair question on some general context how deferred prosecution agreements work, and he's not the only U.S. Attorney that has used these arrangements, and I'll leave it there."