The pressure on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the presidential race is growing rapidly with a quartet of the most influential names in the Republican pantheon urging him to throw his hat in the ring.
Nancy Reagan, Henry Kissinger and President George H.W. Bush all joined the clamor, believing that Christie is the man to beat President Barack Obama in next November’s election, the New York Post reported on Thursday.
Bush’s wife, Barbara had earlier called Christie’s wife Mary Pat urging her to try to persuade him.
Now those close to Christie believe even he will have difficulty resisting the overtures, with the Post saying a decision could come as early as Monday.
“It’s more than just flattering,” the paper quoted a source close to Christie as saying.
Christie, 49, has repeatedly denied that he is interested in running for the country’s top job but the drumbeats have been growing since Newsmax exclusively revealed last week that he was reconsidering his stance.
It was his enthusiastically received speech at the Ronald Reagan Library on Tuesday that was the tipping point, according to the Post. During the address Christie described Obama as a “bystander in the Oval Office” and described gridlock in Washington as embarrassing.
“Behind the scenes, sources said, the discussions about running took on a more serious and ‘surreal tenor,’ as the encouragement from Reagan, Kissinger, Bush and others began to sink in,” the Post reported.
“Even Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, has warmed to the idea of becoming First Lady after months of discouraging a run.”
According to the paper’s source Mary Pat is now “committed to supporting whatever her husband decides.”
During Tuesday’s speech Christie reiterated his denial that he would stand. He directed members of the audience to go to the Politico website which was running a montage of video clips of him saying “no.”
"It's extraordinarily flattering but by the same token, that heartfelt message you gave me is not a reason for me to do it," Christie told a questioner who pleaded with him to join the crowded GOP field.
"That reason has to reside inside me," he added.
In a separate editorial, the Republican-leaning Post described Christie’s position a “flirtation with destiny,” as it urged him to run. “The GOP needs a strong candidate if it is to capitalize on its opportunities next year,” the editorial said.
“Chris Christie made a persuasive case for himself in California Tuesday night. It’s pretty clear that Republicans want to hear more – and we suspect strongly that America does as well.”
Earlier this week, Christie’s brother Todd just as his longtime friend former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean said he was “giving it a lot of thought.”
But while influential figures in the party believe Christie should run, voters are more lukewarm, according to a Poll Position survey released on Thursday.
That found that while 36 percent of Republicans want him to join the race, 34 percent did not. Among Independents 41 percent said he should not run with 39 percent said he should.
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