Scottsdale, Ariz. - If you thought the Christie-2016 speculation was a bit much already, you 're out of luck.
New Jersey' s fast-rising governor gets a formal national political job today in Arizona, when he' ll become chairman of the Republican Governor s Association, a job that will have him crossing the country to campaign for fellow governor s, raising money, picking up IOUs and likely visiting states such as, oh, Iowa and New Hampshire where presidential campaigns live and die.
Christie formally gets the job at the RGA conference here today (we wrote about the gig at length today in the Inquirer and on Philly.com) but that didn' t stop the media from harping on his future Wednesday - even prodding the likes of Louisiana' s Bobby Jindal and Ohio s John Kasich - two governors who might also like their names to be added to the great hype machine of 2016 chatter.
One reporter asked Jindal if Christie would make a good president. Another asked Kasich if Christie is the 2016 front runner.
These weren' t locals just trying to hype the New Jersey angle, either. These were national outlets focused on Christie. To a point, this is about reporters just jumping on the latest hot story - one that has no right or wrong since it' s all speculative for now - but that racks up the Web clicks.
But there is a substantive reason behind this speculation: Republicans are looking for a new leader and new face to lead the party out of its political doldrums. Yes, we have to note that President Obama' s approval ratings are tumbling with each Obamacare flaw that gets exposed, but the GOP is also still wounded from the government shutdown and anyone tied to Washington right now is tainted by the public disdain for all things related to the capital.
That makes Christie and other governors a natural antidote.
This entire conference is built on that premise. There 's a video about how Republican governors are leading America 's comeback. South Carolina' s Nikki Haley says her biggest obstacle is Washington.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said it 's time for Republicans to transition their message out of Washington and into the states. That' s bad news for folks like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan, and might be really good news for Christie - who has campaigned as the anti-gridlock politician, a bottom-line leader who works with both parties.
Except for this: as this conference shows, there are plenty of other governors lining up for the same turf that Christie has tried to claim. Kasich, Jindal, Perry, maybe even Wisconsin 's Scott Walker.
Christie gets his moment on the stage at a press conference Thursday morning. Ostensibly his job here is to help Republicans win elections next year, but something tells me those races won' t be the ones anyone wants to ask about.