DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he’s not running for president, but he’s still leaving an imprint on the 2012 Republican campaign as a potential kingmaker — and distraction.

His visit to Iowa on Monday is evidence of both.

Christie is swooping in to speak at an education conference in Des Moines and headline a political fundraiser for a congressman.

Although Christie has batted away the possibility of a 2012 run at every turn, some of the GOP presidential contenders have sought his advice and support.

“If he feels compelled that he can make a difference, he may endorse a candidate,” said Christie’s senior political adviser, Mike DuHaime.

Christie is inviting national attention at a time when GOP voters have been slow to embrace the field of announced candidates. His visit comes on the same day when two hopefuls, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, were scheduled to campaign in the leadoff caucus state ahead of an August straw poll.

“Any time Christie comes out here, he’s obviously going to take some air out of the room,” said Doug Gross, an influential Iowa Republican who has not committed to a candidate in the 2012 campaign. “He again creates this sense that the current field isn’t complete or isn’t sufficient.”

The attention on Christie may ebb if Texas Gov. Rick Perry enters the race next month.

But efforts to court Christie have continued this summer even though he has said that his four school-age children and further goals in his first term make a White House bid out of the question.

This past week, Christie met with Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone, among the influential economic conservatives who want Christie to run.

In May, a meeting with Christie in Princeton, N.J., that was arranged by a group of Iowa GOP business leaders and donors made headlines as a sign of discontent with the GOP field. Iowa activists are accustomed to being courted in their own state.

The group’s leader, energy company executive Bruce Rastetter, had been impressed by Christie last fall when the New Jersey governor headlined a fundraiser for Terry Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign. Rastetter was Branstad’s top fundraiser in 2010.

Christie agreed during the May meeting to attend the education conference organized by Branstad and to stop in at the fundraiser in West Des Moines for U.S. Rep. Steve King.

It makes sense for Christie to stay in the good graces of Iowa Republicans, should he keep the door open for running for president in 2016, as he has.

The King event is in part out of gratitude for the congressman’s support for Christie at a congressional hearing two years ago, King adviser Chuck Laudner said.

Christie, then the nominee for New Jersey governor, faced pointed questioning at a U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee hearing in the Democratic-controlled House about no-bid contracts he awarded as U.S. attorney in New Jersey. Christie’s star has risen quickly after he defeated a Democratic governor in a Democratic state just a year after Democrat Barack Obama was elected president.

But Christie’s national profile has continued to rise, in part for his frank and sometimes confrontational exchanges with media, captured on video and circulated on the internet by his staff.

He has drawn praise from fiscal hawks and loud complaints from public-sector unions for efforts to trim benefits for public employees as part of steep budget cuts in his first two years in office.

Christie is pursuing education measures aimed at abolishing indefinite tenure for teachers and establishing merit-based pay. Branstad said last week he will propose linking teacher pay raises to classroom performance.

Christie’s approval has begun to slip in public opinion polls from a healthy rating of roughly half of New Jersey voters a year ago to below 50 percent in recent months, while his disapproval has also inched higher to near 50 percent at the same time.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (12)
  1. gtV says:

    Here again is another GOP rising political star[?] soaring into the ranks of the 2012 Presidential wannabes!!! It just goes to show us that the GOP is floundering in tumultuous political seas of shaken identity. Republicans are so ideologically so confused that pundits and populace alike have to keep political scorecards on what’s in GOP’s vogue and playbook this week. But don’t fret, T-Baggers and Republican farsiders, the Democrats are having problems of their own.

    Even the Democrats are confused and floundering with the ‘New Politics’ of 2011. The principles of Democratic political philosophy have been so attacked and beat up that the Democrats are almost old school moderate Republicans! Think about it, the Democrats in Washington are afraid to stand up for precepts that made the Democratic Party a stalwart power. When the President doesn’t have the support of his party when being raked over by the discombobulated GOP leadership this country has a problem. When the Democrats can’t get a bipartisanship coalition together to thwart this country from going into economic default and possibly causing a global depression you have a political brouhaha in the making. When the Democrats can’t lead Congress and the US in a spirit of compromise and unity with the GOP you have crippling stalemate.

    As you can read from my commentary here another GOP Presidential candidate, in the making, only adds to the stifling political calamity this country is in. What happened to that united American spirit of rising stalwartly above any adversity that comes its way?

    The newer American generations need to pick up the torch of progress to lead us out of economic disaster. Unfortunately, there is no apparent dynamic political leader emerging to do so. This country is so politically polarized with political confusion that even the President can’t lead with forthrightness and/or clarity in purpose. The 2012 GOP Presidential candidate field exemplifies the mess the US is in.

  2. Sam says:

    Chris Christie would be a fantastic president.

    What a breath of fresh air it would be.

    1. teabaghater says:

      Hes a Fat A** not a breath of fresh air

    2. jordanj says:

      Disagree, he’s another who feels he’s entitled…helicopter to his son’s games, didn’t offer to pay until he was trashed about it. Let him stay in New Jersey and spend their money. Working for the Government seems to be entitlement not SS and Medicare which everyone pays for their entire working lives.

  3. Comrade Lenin and Chairman Mao says:


    “As you can read from my commentary here another GOP Presidential candidate, in the making, only adds to the stifling political calamity this country is in.”

    “the GOP is floundering in tumultuous political seas of shaken identity. Republicans are so ideologically so confused that pundits and populace alike have to keep political scorecards on what’s in GOP’s vogue and playbook this week.”

    You sir, are: (pick just one)

    1.) very, very high on yourself

    2.) a genius when it comes to American politics

    3.) a regular smoker of weed

    1. Wow says:

      And if it’s one or two, you should do number three…

  4. Steve says:

    Gov. Christie’s poll ratings are 53 percent disapproval. Why is this article stating “to near 50 percent” Lets tell the true story. Over 50 percent of the people in NJ disapprove.

  5. Kevin says:

    And Obami’s are in the 30’s….I will take the 50% (prob those 50% that dont pay taxes)…….I just want to see him snap and beat the hel* out of some dem and repub….you know those life term polititians….just grab them and pummel them…..God a man can dream……Maybe he could grab Big Al Frankin by his floppy ears and drop kick him back to hollywood……

    1. frozenrunner says:

      Wow. 2 years in office. Governor Christie has made New Jersey the 40th best state for business by forbes for 2010. Minnesota was #17 ,They fared a little better in the msnbc rankings, number 20, Minnesota was number 8. Check your statistics, New Jersey has the highest unemployment in the region, some of the highest property taxes in the nation,and some of the worst infrastructure in the US. The only good roads are the toll roads. People who have never been to New Jersey can’t imagine what the place is like. A friend once said it was a good place to be from. Yet there are fools like you go gaga over him. because he is holding the line on spending without doing squat to improve the state.
      It is interesting that if you search you will find that New Jersey employs more people in the travel business than Minnesota for the same amount of business with less going to the state.

    2. Mike says:

      Kevin, your facts are not reality. According to the July 19th Gallop Poll, President Obama’s had a 46.8% average approval rating in his 10th quarter ending July 19 and the GOP’s were 28%.

      1. teabaghater says:

        Ya lets have Fat gov. Christie run I BET he will win NOT!!! He sure will beat obama Sure what a joke half his own stae donot like him just like pawlenty both idots

  6. Flower child says:

    Since when have Kevin’s posts ever been based on reality, or, for that fact, compassion for any human beings. Just a troll.

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