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New Jersey's Christie: likely "more ready" for president in 2016

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie looks on while giving his State of the State address in the assembly chamber in Trenton, New Jersey, Janu
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie looks on while giving his State of the State address in the assembly chamber in Trenton, New Jersey, Janu

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rising Republican star Chris Christie says he would be "more ready" to run for U.S. president in the 2016 election after finishing his work as the governor of New Jersey.

Christie, who had been pushed to run as a presidential candidate in 2012 but declined, is seen as a possible national party leader as it tries regroup after losing the White House to Democratic President Barack Obama and several seats in the U.S. Congress in November.

"I will be more ready than I was in 2012 because I will have done my job for longer and hopefully gotten better," he told ABC's "Good Morning America."

Still, Christie, who will seek a second four-year term in November, added, "What I want to do now is be governor of New Jersey."

"Anybody who tries to plan four years from now ... is crazy," he told ABC. "I'm running for four more years as governor of New Jersey because I want to serve as four more years as governor of New Jersey."

Christie's comments came in a spray of interviews on least four U.S. television networks, one day after giving his annual assessment of his Atlantic coast state and calling for more relief in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which hit October 29.

The Republican governor has been critical of national politics and Washington politicians, especially when U.S. lawmakers last week delayed a vote on storm relief funding before ultimately approving some money.

After the storm, Christie announced his intention to seek another term. In his speech Tuesday, he called on Congress to quickly pass the full $60.4 billion storm relief package, saying victims in New Jersey had been "short-changed."

He also touted his state's economic recovery after the 2007-2009 recession and pointed to his accomplishments alongside New Jersey's Democratic-led state legislature.

"Maybe the folks in Washington, in both parties could learn something from our record here," Christie said on Tuesday.

Christie's approval rating remains high, with about 73 percent of voters approve of the job he is doing, a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll showed on Monday.

Christie's popularity on the national stage, fueled in part by his no-nonsense and blunt style, helped snare him the keynote address at August's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Months later, however, he drew sharp criticism from fellow Republicans when he toured the damage from Sandy with Obama days before November 6 presidential election, and strongly praised the Democrat's response to the storm.

Christie told CBS News' "This Morning" that he was not concerned about upsetting fellow Republicans.

"I don't worry about that. I believe what the American people want, and what the people of New Jersey want, is people that come into office and do their jobs and if you try to calculate every one of those jobs politically, you're not doing your job and you're not going to be an effective politician anyway," he told CBS.

(Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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