Christie visits Senate GOP leaders

October 9, 2013

Taking a break from the campaign trail in the Garden State, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie huddled with top Senate Republicans Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol.

The governor, who faces reelection in less than a month, told reporters after the meeting that he was merely paying a “courtesy visit” to Sen. Jeff Chiesa (R-N.J.), who will step down in a little more than a week after a special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

“I’ve got a race in 27 days, guys, that’s completely my focus at this point,” he told reporters who asked about the subject of his meeting with senators. “I’m trying to be reelected as governor and my job is to work on the problems of New Jersey, that’s what I’m doing. I’m just down here today to have a visit with the senator, and he’s introduced me to some of the new friends he’s made over the last four and a half months and that’s all that today is about.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his top lieutenants John Cornyn (R-Tex.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also attended the meeting, which lasted more than a half hour.

In a televised debate Tuesday night, Christie dodged questions about his potential 2016 presidential ambitions, saying he “can walk and chew gum at the same time. … I can do this job and also deal with my future.”

Asked again by reporters Wednesday whether he thinks he can walk and chew gum at the same time, Christie replied: “Sure, but only if I want to.”

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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