Christie sets ambitious agenda in New Jersey amid 2016 speculation

January 22, 2012


After tackling pensions and health care benefits, Chris Christie is setting his sights on taxes and education reform — all as the New Jersey governor signals interest in a 2016 presidential run despite sitting out this year’s race.

Christie, who is getting a taste of presidential politics this season as a high-profile surrogate for Mitt Romney, used his State of the State address earlier this week to unveil his ambitious plans, as he heralded the arrival of the “New Jersey comeback.”

Whether or not the state is experiencing a renaissance, the charismatic and YouTube-ready governor may still be poised to use New Jersey as a lab of sorts for some of his party’s boldest ideas. Should his experiments succeed, there’s little question the notches on his political belt will serve him well in a presidential run.

“It’s hard to run for national office if you’ve had an unsuccessful governorship,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “(Christie is) moving toward accomplishing a great deal in the first term.”

Asked whether Christie is likely to mount a presidential run in 2016, should President Obama win this fall, Sabato said: “Yes, yes and yes.”

Christie, who turned down appeals to run in 2012, signaled in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last week that he’s got his eye on the next cycle. Though it depends on how things turn out this fall, Christie said he’d be “much more ready four years from now.”

Christie, in an interview on Fox News, downplayed the idea of him settling for vice president — should Romney win the nomination and ask him to join the ticket.

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