We've been fooled before.
Nearly a year ago, it looked like Gov. Christie was going to make a run for president. Hints and leaks and prognostications and tea leaves told us so. But it didn't happen.
Now, with Mitt Romney expected to pick his running mate any moment now, Christie chatter is back. Christie has always been on the list of prospective vice presidential candidates, but the buzz is louder now. That may be intentional and bogus, and we may be getting punked once again -- there are a billion reasons why Christie won't get tapped. But here are five reasons why he may very well be running for vice president:
1) Out of nowhere, Christie has jumped from the second tier of contenders to the "short list." The Washington Post's political blog now puts him at No. 5 in a list of those most likely to get selected, up from No. 8, and conservative commentator Bill Kristol (who knew about John McCain picking Sarah Palin before you did) now says Christie is among the final three being considered. At a press conference today, Christie wouldn't say whether or not he has been vetted by the Romney people.
2) Conventional wisdom has long held that if Christie ain't VP, he's definitely the keynote speaker at the Republican convention in Tampa at the end of August. He's arguably the most dynamic speaker of the fresh-faced national Republicans, so he's an obvious choice. But there have been two announcements from the Republican National Committee on convention speakers, and Christie hasn't been on either list. That means, possibly, that he's slated to give the VP nominee address.
3) One of Christie's key political advisers -- consultant Mike DuHaime -- is working for the Republican National Committee until the end of the campaign season, reports Politico. He's a guy who knows how to get Christie elected. (At an afternoon Statehouse press conference, Christie was asked what can be read into DuHaime's move: "Nothing...I think what the Romney campaign is doing is assembling as much political talent as they can because they're going to need it.")
4) I got a press release last night from Rick Mroz of Haddonfield, a college friend of Christie's. It was headlined: "Gov. Christie's College Friend and Long Time Confident Available to Comment on the Gov's. Future, Keynote at the Convention? VP? And what Makes Christie Tick?" My question: Did Christie okay sending this release? Christie's answer was that it was the first he heard of it and as a result Mroz is now "in the penalty box." "He has no business talking about my future because I haven't talked about my future with him," Christie said.
5) Today is Christie's last scheduled day in Trenton for some time. He's campaigning and fundraising for Romney and other Republicans in Washington State, California and Montana at the end of the week. He's in New Jersey next week, but he has nothing publicly planned. That gives a wide window for a veep announcement and roll-out.
Christie's final take from this afternoon's presser: "Two weeks ago I was definitely going to be the keynote speaker [at the convention], this morning I was going to be the vice president, tomorrow I may be nothing...who knows?"