Forget VP: Romney asks Christie to be 'czar of the world'

Gov. Christie (left) with Israeli President Shimon Peres during Christie's visit to Israel. A trip to the Holy Land is traditional for New Jersey governors. (ODED BALILTY / Associated Press)

Trying out new material in what is sure to be 4 1/2 months of questions about whether he's going to run for vice president, Gov. Christie said he emailed Mitt Romney yesterday after Rick Santorum dropped out of the GOP presidential race.

And what did Romney write in response?

"He asked me to be vice president and czar of the world," Christie said.

The Czar Of Jersey was at the Bridgewater Jewish Community Center this morning to talk to a group of Jewish leaders about his trip last week to Israel and Jordan, which he described as an awe-inspiring experience for him and his family. He was particularly struck by how you can hear the Muslim call to prayer while standing at the Wailing Wall, the holiest site in Judaism.

"Israel and the United States share the same values of freedom, and liberty, and opportunity for everyone regardless of your faith...and that's alive in Jerusalem," he said.

Christie said that the trip helped him determine that the holy sites in Jerusalem should be under Israeli control. But he declined to opine on the thorny topic of whether a united Jerusalem should be the capital of the Jewish state. He was asked about it in the context of running president: "I'm not going to give positions on that now because just in case I decided to do that (run for president) I want to give you something to look forward to." 

On a far more local issue, Christie said he is not budging from his position to merge Rutgers-Camden into Rowan University, despite a report today that Democratic leaders are hammering out a compromise: "I'm not going to let anybody keep the Rutgers name unless they're being governed by Rutgers. I'm supporting my plan, we're going to move forward with my plan, and my plan is going to be implemented. And the people at Rutgers-Camden need to get ready for that. And that's what they're doing."

Christie also spent much of today's press conference absolutely ripping The New York Times for its story yesterday that he had "exaggerated" claims about the cost of a tunnel project to New York City. Read our story on that, here.

"Let's stop with you guys being lazy and just repeating what The New York Times put in the paper," he said. Later, he added: "We're into the presidential election season. The New York Times has decided to be critical of me because they're afraid I'm going to have some role in a national campaign."

He indicated that the entire paper is biased, but it should be noted that he doesn't feel that way about a huge cover story about him that the New York Times magazine did last year. He regularly refers to at town hall meetings.