New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t relish the idea of campaigning against Jeb Bush in 2016.
In fact, a presidential primary tussle with the former Florida governor would be “stressful,” Christie acknowledged Tuesday.
“You like to run against people that you don’t like, not run against people that you do like and respect, so of course it would be stressful,” Christie said on New Jersey radio station 101.5′s “Ask the Governor” program.
“I am close with the Bush family … [Jeb] has been a wonderful friend to me, especially during [superstorm] Sandy and the aftermath,” he added.
When asked about the comment at the Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit Wednesday, Christie explained that the host had forced him to choose between two alternatives: “stressful” or “kind of fun.”
“I was given a choice … so I said, ‘well, between the two, it would be stressful,’” he said. “I actually answered the question … but it won’t determine my decision. And I suspect it wouldn’t determine his either.”
Both Bush and Christie are considered relatively moderate voices in a party rocked by warring factions. And both have said they’re considering presidential runs.
Many pundits believe Christie’s chances were hurt after the George Washington Bridge scandal erupted. But Christie, who has vehemently denied involvement, has said that the issue won’t impact his decision and confirmed Wednesday he’s still considering a White House bid.
When asked what potential GOP candidates he didn’t like, Christie
“Well, we’ll have to see who runs first,” Christie joked. “I don’t want to tell someone I don’t like them and they turn out not to run. That would be a wasted unlike, wouldn’t it?”
While Christie was busy defending his governorship, Bush, on the other hand, has stayed relatively low profile. Analysts say because of his obvious connections – his father and brother have both served as president – Bush can afford to wait before he mounts a campaign.
Several prominent Republicans, including his brother, father and Speaker of the House John Boehner, have urged Jeb Bush to declare.
But Bush insists he hasn’t yet made his decision, and Christie seems to believe him.
“I take Jeb at his word, which is, he hasn’t made a decision about what he wants to do and that it’s an intensely personal decision. I agree with that,” Christie said on the radio program. “And he says he has to determine whether he has the fire in the belly to do this.”
“But in the end, you know, everybody’s going to make their own decisions – myself included on that – on what they think is best for them, and what they think is best for our party, and what we think is best for the country,” Christie said. The New Jersey governor said he “firmly believes” Bush won’t make the call until after the 2014 midterm elections.
A recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll put Bush and Christie neck-and-neck in a potential primary matchup.
ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe contributed to this report.