New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who is regularly besieged with questions about whether he will run for president in 2012, said Thursday it seems only suicide will make the rumors stop.
“Short of suicide, I don't really know what I'd have to do to convince you people that I'm not running. I'm not running!” Christie told reporters in Trenton, the state capital.
Christie, 48, a former federal prosecutor who unseated incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine in 2009, has become something of a rock star in Republican circles for his no-nonsense approach to budget cuts and willingness to stand up to his state's teachers unions. He has spent months dismissing speculation he might run for the White House in 2012, insisting that he is not ready to run and has no desire to do so.
“I've said I don't want to. I'm not going to. There is zero chance I will. I don't feel like I'm ready to be president. I don't want to run for president. I don't have the fire in the belly to run for president. But, yet, everyone seems to think that I've left the door open a little bit,” he said Thursday in exasperation.
Christie has been popular on the campaign trail this election year, embarking on an eight-state campaign tour on behalf of Republican governors in September and October that included a stop in Iowa, which traditionally holds the first presidential caucuses.
He is set to appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.