Christie Calls It Right

New Jersey governor smart not to run for GOP presidential nod.

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Republican strategists say that, no matter how strong the New Jersey governor looked in early opinion polls and no matter how many big donors implored him to run for the Republican presidential nomination, the odds were heavily against him. He had three strikes against him:

[See cartoons about the Republican primary.]

1. It is very late in the game. The timing of the nominating process is in flux, but it's likely that Iowa will hold its caucuses the first week of January--less than 90 days away--followed closely by contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida. There just wasn't sufficient time to build the organization, raise the money, hire the staff, and actually do the personal campaigning that a modern presidential campaign requires.

2. His best day would have been his first day as a candidate. The lesson of Texas Gov. Rick Perry is instructive. Perry got into the race a few weeks ago and immediately became the front runner. But his record was quickly dissected and his opponents piled on, finding flaws that many GOP voters couldn't stomach, such as his relatively moderate views on immigration. Others were troubled by his weak performances in debates. Perry has now faded dramatically in the polls. With his own moderate record on gun control, immigration, and climate change, Christie was headed for the same fate. The early states, which prize conservative views and constant attention, were not made to order for him. [See pictures from the GOP campaign trail.]

3. The Republican electorate wanted a savior, and Christie isn't one. His personal characteristics, such as his feistiness and his strong convictions, looked appealing in theory. But he has a temper, and he has never been tested in a presidential campaign, which brings out every foible and flaw. The jousting and pressure would likely have made him seen brittle and too confrontational.

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