New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fueled speculation about his future again today, saying in an interview with CNBC that he would entertain the possibility of being Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee.
“This is an election with one voter. Mitt Romney. He gets to decide who he thinks should be the vice president of the United States. I love being governor of New Jersey, you can tell,” Christie said. “But the fact is, if Gov. Romney picks up the phone and calls, you have to answer the call and listen at least.”
Christie, who has already made several appearances supporting Romney along the campaign trail, has in the past resisted claims that he would take the opportunity to run alongside the former Massachusetts governor.
Just last month, he told high school students in New Jersey: “I really have no interest in being vice president.” But he has sent other signals at other times, and demonstrated renewed ambivalence on Tuesday.
“He [Romney] might be able to convince me, he’s a convincing guy. But I really love this job, I really want to stay in this job,” he added.
Christie’s popularity among Republicans is so great that there was speculation during the early stages of the Republican primaries that he might jump into the race. Part of his standing stems from his blunt-speaking approach.
But if chosen as VP, Christie would have to reconcile his differing stance with Romney on the Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling, particularly the majority vote’s conclusion that the law’s individual mandate is a tax.
“I’ve thought all along that it was a tax. And I don’t think it’s exclusively a tax or a penalty, it’s both,” Christie said on “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday. That marked a departure from senior Romney campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom’s assertion Monday that Romney believes the mandate is not a tax, and the campaign later confirmed that was the candidate’s view as well. Romney, of course, has reason to dispute that the healthcare mandate is a tax, since it was modeled on one he pressed as governor of Massachusetts.
“Let’s not focus on what spokespeople are saying. Spokespeople come in and fill up space on the cable stations. No offense,” Christie said, addressing the difference on CNBC.