New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate, left a New Jersey hospital this evening, telling reporters he suffered breathing problems apparently related to his asthma condition.
"I was a little bit scared, but I was never... passed out," he told reporters outside the hospital around 6:30 p.m. ET. "I was communicating the whole time."
Maria Comella, Christie's deputy chief of staff, earlier said that doctors ran an EKG test, took blood work and did a chest x-ray.
"Everything came back normal," she said. "They've ruled out anything else more serious ... anything to do with cardiac issues has been ruled out."
"The governor is fully alert and he is in charge," she said.
In fact, Christie, 48, said he placed a stream of calls to government officials and family members to assure them he was doing well until his cell phone battery died around 4 p.m.
"I feel great now," he added. "A little tired. But other than tired, I feel fine."
Christie was being driven to an official event at a farm this morning when he began having difficulty breathing. After his asthma inhalers failed to help, he was taken to Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, N.J., at around 10:30 a.m.
In addition to the breathing problems sometimes associated with his asthma, Christie said, he felt lightheaded and told aides he might need to go to the hospital.
"I was kind of betwixt and between about whether to come or not," Christie said. "The first thing I thought about was my kids. You know, when you have four kids you don't take chances.
"I don't usually get lightheaded and I did -- and that's what made me feel different about this," he added. "From the time I told them, we were here in less than 10 minutes and I was in there getting taken care of.
"I don't want you or anyone in the state to be concerned about me," he said. "I'm fine."
Christie did not believe his job as governor contributed to his first emergency trip to the hospital for asthma since he was a law student more than 20 years ago, noting that his prior job as U.S. attorney was stressful, too.
But the stresses of work may have influenced his decision to get checked out to be sure it was just asthma.
"It's been 10 years of stress, so you don't want to push your luck," he said.
Christie blamed the weather for his apparent asthma attack.
"In these humid, hot times, that tends to make asthmatics labor a little bit more," he said.
Asked if his numerous political foes might use the health scare against him, Christie, whose weight has been fodder for criticism, said he wouldn't be surprised.
"My political enemies are never at rest," he said, "and if this is what they want to use, I think I'm having a pretty good week.
"Despite the well chronicled issues with my weight, I've been relatively healthy by all objective indicators," he said.
Christie expects to relax at home tonight. If he continues to feel better Friday, he plans to go through with a weight-loss workout and then report for work at the statehouse and attend events, as scheduled.
Christie's wife, Mary Pat, and his brother, Todd Christie, were with the governor at the hospital, but Mary Pat Christie left early to attend their son's baseball game this evening.
The governor has suffered from asthma since he was 15 and uses an inhaler once a day, his staff said.
Christie has been discussed as a possible presidential candidate, something he has ruled out. Other Republican candidates, however, have said they would consider Christie as a possible vice presidential running mate.