NEPTUNE – Two days after President Barack Obama arrived in New Jersey to tour flood-pummeled Wayne and Paterson, the question inevitably arrived at the podium of Gov. Chris Christie: Having just stood in the presence of the man himself, did he change his mind about challenging Obama?
“I think people have a discontent with the field,” Christie told reporters moments after opening a field office for FEMA and OEM here.
“As long as they have a discontent with the field,” supporters will talk about him as a presidential GOP dream date.
“The discussion is not only with me but (former Alaska) Gov. Palin,” Christie said. “Anywhere I go people ask me to run for president. The fact is I’ve made my position clear.”
It hasn’t changed.
He’s not running.
While cable news pundits were jawing about Christie for president, Christie said he was walking with the president.
“We did not discuss it,” the governor said. “I did notice it (the texted news about the pundits’ exhortations) while I was with him. I figured it was not the best thing to ask, particularly when you’re looking for FEMA funding.”
Christie said he shared a number of laughs with Obama. When the president was preparing to leave, Christie was waved up the stairs into the presidential copter, to Obama’s surprise.
When an already boarded president saw Christie climb up the stairs into the bowels of the copter, “He said ‘I can never keep track of who’s supposed to peel off or not.’”
As the pair strolled across the tarmac after the flight, “You’re not coming on Air Force one with me?’” Christie said Obama joked when the president was actually finally leaving.
“We were really very cordial,” said Christie. “We have one president at a time. Anytime he comes here it’s my job to welcome him to the state to make sure the job is as productive as possible. He saw real New Jerseyans who were really suffering.”