New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blew into Washington on Wednesday for a meeting with Republican senators, but insisted it had nothing to do with the government shutdown, looming debt ceiling crisis — or a possible presidential bid.
The GOP governor paid a courtesy call on Sen. Jeffrey Chiesa, R-N.J., whom he appointed to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and met with party leadership, The Hill reported
Christie, Chiesa and the Senate leadership met in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office for over an hour, NBC News reported
"I'm just down here today to have a visit with the senator, and he's introduced me to some of the new friends he's made over the last 4.5 months, and that's all today is about," Christie said leaving the Capitol building, NBC reported.
But the garrulous governor — seen as a possible Republican presidential contender in 2016 — did take a swipe at elected officials who’ve yet to come to an agreement to end the shutdown.
"I don't think it's ever good to keep the government closed when your job is to run the government," Christie said.
Christie deflected questions about a possible presidential campaign — including his flip remark Monday night that he could “walk and chew gum at the same time.”
"Sure, sure, but only if I want to," Christie said, NBC reported.
"I'm running for governor of New Jersey, so hopefully I have enough room to get re-elected. But it's good to see all of you, thank you for coming. All of this attention is really just so flattering, I appreciate it."
Christie and Chiesa are longtime friends who had been planning to meet in Washington, a representative for Chiesa said, adding that Wednesday worked out for both men, The Hill reported.
The New Jersey electorate votes on Oct. 16 to select a permanent replacement for the remainder of Lautenberg's term. Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker is in a tightening race against Republican Steve Lonegan
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