It was a remarkable moment. Republicans at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library last night pleading, cajoling and begging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run for president.
“I mean this with all my heart. We can’t wait another four years, to 2016. I really implore you as a citizen of this country to please, sir, to reconsider,” a woman in the audience told Christie. “We need you. Your country needs you to run for president.”
ABC’s Jonathan Karl called it the “emotional high point of the 2012 campaign so far. Christie came to what is essentially sacred ground for conservatives and encountered a well-connected group of Republicans who believe he is the candidate for 2012 and are not willing to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
As Karl notes, the woman’s passionate plea drew “the biggest and most sustained applause of the night.”
Christie left the door open — ever so slightly — to the notion that he was reconsidering his decision not to run. Although he referred the crowd to his previous denials that he would not jump into the race, he told this woman that he was “listening to every word.”
“I hear exactly what you’re saying and I feel the passion with which you say it, and it touches me,” Christie replied. “I’m just a kid from Jersey who feels like he’s the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity that I have to be the governor of my state.” http://abcn.ws/pfvkG8
“I thank you for what you’re saying and I take it in and I’m listening to every word of it and feeling it,” he continued. “It’s extraordinarily flattering, but by the same token, that heartfelt message you gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. That reason has to reside inside me.”
So, is he really thinking about it? According to Karl’s “Good Morning America” report, Team Christie thinks there’s a window of at most a week or two for the governor to reconsider. Beyond that, things get dicey and, even now, the reasons for him not to run are many.
“You have to get a campaign together, and that takes a time,” GOP consultant John Feehery told the National Journal’s Alex Roarty. “You not only need to get bodies, but bodies who trust each other, can work together, and respond to crises.” http://bit.ly/o83A1F
And ABC’s Amy Bingham takes closer look today at Christie potential vulnerability with the Republican primary electorate on policy issues. Needless to say, the vetting of Christie’s record in public service would be swift and severe. http://abcn.ws/pqzqu0
Just look at this statement from the Democratic Governors Association yesterday: “Christie’s shtick might be new, but his job-killing, opportunity-squashing, middle class-undermining policies offer few contrasts with his would-be Republican opponents and no answers for the challenges facing our nation.”
BOTTOM LINE: The overall restiveness of voters out there should not be underestimated. Whether it’s the scene at Reagan Library or President Obama being forced to reassure and reprimand his base at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner over the weekend.
“Stop complaining. Stop grumbling. Stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do,” he said. ”I expect all of you to march with me and press on. Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes.”
When almost 80 percent of voters say they believe the country is on the wrong track and more Americans than ever identify themselves as independents the major parties have to recognize that the same-old, same-old campaign strategies just aren’t going to cut it this time. We’ve also been struck by the number of seasoned campaign pros who are convinced that this will be the year where a strong third party candidate will emerge. Let the speculation continue.
WATCH Jon Karl’s “Good Morning America” report on Christie speech today:
CHRISTIE VS. PERRY. Though Christie may have left some doubt about his own presidential ambitions during his Reagan Library appearance on Tuesday night, that didn’t stop him from taking direct aim at the current front-runner for the Republican nomination. Christie took issue with Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s assertion at a debate last week that refusing to provide discounted college tuition to illegal immigrants was heartless. “I want every child who comes to New Jersey to be educated, but I don’t believe that for those people who came here illegally, we should be subsidizing with taxpayer money, through in-state tuition their education,” Christie said. “And let me be very clear from my perspective: That is not a heartless position that is a commonsense position.” Perry, who as governor of Texas supported a bill allowing the children of illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition at Texas colleges and universities, said at a debate in Florida last week that anyone who disagrees does not “have a heart.” http://abcn.ws/pIRE9I
CHRISTIE VS. OBAMA. Somewhat lost in all of the will-he-or-won’t-he run for president speculation was the hard knocks Gov. Christie gave President Obama in his speech last night. At point Christie quoted form Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention address in which the future president warned of “those who are preparing to divide us.”
“Seven years later, President Obama prepares to divide our nation to achieve re-election. This is not a leadership style, this is a re-election strategy,” Christie said.
“We continue to wait and hope that our president will finally stop being a bystander in the Oval Office,” Christie said in his speech. “We hope that he will shake off the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things that are obvious to all Americans and to a watching and anxious world community.”
ACTUAL HEADLINE from the New York Post’s John Podhoretz: “Christie doesn’t sound like a noncandidate”
NOTE EXCLUSIVE: PERRY BLASTS ROMNEY ON STIMULUS ‘FLIP-FLOP.’ ABC’s Arlette Saenz and Emily Friedman scoop Rick Perry’s latest attack on Mitt Romney today. The Perry team continues to paint Romney as a “flip-flopper” for a third time this week with the release of another web video, this one focusing on Romney’s edit on where he stood on the 2009 Obama administration-backed stimulus. WATCH: http://bit.ly/qFUJ1a
Called “Stimu-Flop,” the web video attempts to turn Romney’s position on the 2009 stimulus into a flip-flop. The video highlights a passage from the 2010 hardcover version of Romney’s book, No Apology, which illustrates the potential the stimulus held for turning the course on the struggling economy. “The ‘all-Democrat’ stimulus that was passed in early 2009 will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery,” the Perry campaign highlights in Romney’s book, though it does not go on to include Romney’s statement that more could’ve have been done with greater job creating and tax incentives. But in the 2011 paperback edition of the book, Romney’s statement on the stimulus was changed to reflect his stronger stance that the stimulus was a complete “failure” after witnessing its ineffectiveness in creating jobs.
ROMNEY COUNTER-PROGRAMMING. A spokeswoman for Romney called the new video a “tall tale” and turned the tables on Perry to explain his acceptance of stimulus funds for the state of Texas. ”In yet another instance, Gov. Perry’s weak claim is just a tall tale. Gov. Perry should spend his time explaining why he relied on federal stimulus funds to fill a $6 billion budget deficit last year instead of trying to manufacture false attacks on Gov. Romney,” Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney said.
Meanwhile, the Romney campaign released a stimulus video of its own Wednesday but instead of focusing on Perry, it turned to attacking President Obama’s inability to create jobs through the $787 billion stimulus. The video, titled “Stop the Spending,” features interviews with small business owners, who discussed the failure of the 2009 stimulus in spurring job growth in their companies and expressed concern that a second stimulus package will pass and be a second failure.
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE.” ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter talk to Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., who joins the “Top Line” live from Detroit. Also on the program filmmakers Steve Mims and Joe Bailey, Jr., the directors of a new documentary highlighting a potential innocent man executed in Texas during Rick Perry term as governor. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc
WHAT ABOUT PALIN? “A Palin presidency: Too ‘shackle-y?’ That’s what Sarah Palin suggested on Fox News’ ‘On The Record with Greta Van Susteren’ last night, saying that she’s concerned jumping into the 2012 presidential race will muffle her message,” according to ABC Palin-watcher Sheila Marikar. “‘Is a title worth it?’ she asked, rhetorically. ‘Does a title shackle a person? Are they someone like me who’s maverick? I do go rogue and I call it like I see it and I don’t mind stirring it up in order to get people to think and debate aggressively.’ ‘Is a title and a campaign too shackle-y?,’ she continued. ‘Does that prohibit me from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me and to force my message to be what donors or what contributors or what pundits want it to be? Does a title take away my freedom to call it like I see it and to affect positive change that we need in this country? That’s the biggest contemplation piece in my process.’ Palin expressed a concern about ‘being caricatured’ if she runs, and asked again ‘whether a title is needed to make a difference or someone can be rogue, can be maverick, can be passionate about issues and can get people to think very wisely about issues.’” http://abcn.ws/mVvPUK
ROMNEY RAISING AT A SLOWER CLIP. “Mitt Romney’s campaign aides estimate that they will raise ‘considerably less’ this fund-raising quarter than the $18.2 million haul the campaign brought in during the previous three months,” reports the Boston Globe’s Matt Viser. “Aides for the former Massachusetts governor are predicting that his top campaign rival — Texas Governor Rick Perry — will raise more than he will, even though Perry has been in the race for only six weeks. The fund-raising quarter doesn’t end until Friday and campaigns don’t have to file their reports until Oct. 15 but already they are playing an expectations game over the figures. ‘We are going to raise considerably less than what we did in our first reporting period, but we will still meet our finance goals for this quarter,’ said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. ‘Rick Perry is a brand new candidate raising primary and general election dollars, and as the governor of a large state and former [Republican Governor's Association] chair we suspect he will lead the Republican field in fund-raising for this quarter.’ Not to be outplayed on downplaying their expectations, Perry’s campaign offered its own sober assessment. ‘Mitt Romney’s fund-raising machine has been in place for almost six years and we have been in this race for only six weeks,’ Perry spokesman Mark Miner. ‘Our goal is to have the necessary resources to run a credible campaign.’” http://bo.st/p5D3Jf
ANITA PERRY IN THE SPOTLIGHT. “Texas governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is at his best when the odds are against him, his wife Anita Perry said at opening the campaign’s Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines,’ reports the Des Moines Register’s Jason Clayworth. “‘He’s the most determined candidate that I know and when the chips get down he’s at his best because he’s a fighter and that’s why we’re in this race,’ Texas’s First Lady said to a group of about 35 people when describing Perry’s campaign style of persistence and meeting directly with voters. She continued: ‘He’s going to campaign the same way in Iowa.’” http://bit.ly/pvFY8q
WHITE HOUSE WATCH: OBAMA AT SCHOOL. From ABC’s Mary Bruce: “Back from this three-day western tour, today President Obama will field questions from the Hispanic community and deliver a back-to-school address to students across the country. In an “Open for Questions” online roundtable the president will respond to questions from readers of Yahoo!, MSN Latino and AOL Latino/Huffington Post Latino Voices. Later this afternoon, Obama will deliver his third annual back-to-school address at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C., where the president will urge students to study hard for the future of the country and pursue higher education.”
@markknoller: Pres Obama will encourage kids to “take some risks once in a while.” “Color outside the lines every now and then,” he will say.
* Michele Bachmann speaks at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. at 10 a.m.
* Anita Perry, wife of Rick Perry, attends a meet-and-greet with the West Side Conservative Breakfast Club in Urbandale, Iowa at 7 a.m. At 10, she tours Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
The Note Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV
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