New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he hasn’t decided whether he will run for president in 2016 but said if he does make a bid for the White House he’s going to “do it honestly” and “won’t give up” his identity.
Speaking exclusively with Matt Lauer in a New Hampshire ice cream parlor on NBC’s “Today,” Christie said he plans to make a decision about whether he will seek the Republican party’s nomination for president in the next couple of months.
“We’re still going through the really personal personal part of this decision,” Christie said. “You don’t want to rush this decision. You do that in the time that it takes.”
Though Christie hasn’t announced a campaign, he has spent several days in New Hampshire, which holds a presidential primary a week after the Iowa caucuses, holding town halls.
He said if he does run, he won’t change his boisterous personality to do it.
“If I decide I want to do this, I’m going to do it honestly, and I'm going to go at as hard as I can and try to win every day,” he said. “I will never give being who I am, because that's a thing that stays with you forever."
Christie was once considered a presidential frontrunner for the GOP, but his popularity waned in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. The governor was never implicated in the traffic-jamming political payback scheme, but he saw his popularity dissipate in the Garden State and across the country in the aftermath of the scandal.
“I don’t think anybody likes to have something like that happen on their watch,” Christie said. “There's no way that it doesn't affect you. In part because it happens and in part because of the incredible coverage it’s gotten.”
Christie added that he is comfortable with his approval ratings, which plummeted both in New Jersey and nationally after news broke about the politically-motivated lane closures. He said that, if he runs for office again, he’ll be comfortable not being a frontrunner.
"Poll numbers go up and go down based on your performance and I am far, far from finished with my career,” he told Lauer.
Though he didn’t announce a run for the Oval Office, Christie weighed in on presidential candidates from both parties.
He told Lauer he believed that the person sworn in to the nation’s highest elected office will be a former governor because that the country has had bad experiences with one-term senators as presidents – an apparent swipe at President Barack Obama, who was elected after one term in the U.S. Senate, and Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, all one-term Republican senators who have announced presidential campaigns.
“I will tell ya this, I think a governor is going to be our nominee,” he said. "I think our party and our country needs someone who has actually run something."