Chris Christie doesn't think he's ready to be president, but knows he could win if he ran.
The outspoken Republican governor from the Garden State has repeatedly dismissed any and all speculation about a 2012 White House bid, even joking the only way to convince people he won't be on the ballot is if he isn't around anymore. "Apparently, I actually have to commit suicide," Christie said last month in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.
Much attention has recently been given to the perceived weakness of the Republican field that will challenge President Obama, and some pundits have pinned the GOP's best hopes of victory on Governor Christie. He's noticed. "I see the opportunity both at the primary level and at the general election level," Christie tells the National Review. "I have people calling me and saying to me, ‘Let me explain to you how you could win.' And I'm like, ‘You're barking up the wrong tree. I already know I could win.' That's not the issue."
The issue, he says, is motivation. Christie thinks presidential bids must be driven by something other than an open field or weak opponents. "I think when you have people who make the decision just based upon seeing the opportunity you have a greater likelihood that you're going to have a president who is not ready," he warns. "And then we all suffer from that.
Christie says he is flattered so many people want him to run and is sometimes even overwhelmed by the high level of support from residents in other states.
The first term governor also insists that if he felt like he was prepared to be the president, he would throw his hat in the ring. But, he says he gets better at his current job every day, and his instincts are telling him to stay put.
"There has never been a day where I've felt like I'm over my head, I don't know what to do, I'm lost," he says of his time in the New Jersey Governor's office. "I don't know whether I'd feel the same way if I walked into the Oval Office a year and a half from now."
Peter Doocy is currently a Washington D.C.-based correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2009 as a general assignment reporter based in the New York bureau.