This is the first in a series running while Right Turn is on summer vacation. We’ll be back August 12.

Today, we look at the 10 things New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie needs to do to position himself for a GOP presidential run for 2016:

1. Win big this year. The larger the margin in his reelection race in New Jersey, the more credibility he will have as the GOP candidate who can win outside of traditionally conservative strong holds.

2. Keep talking about national security, which is the biggest challenge for most governors. He struck a nerve when he bashed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who eventually cried uncle.  Christie has the advantage of experience in counter-terrorism as a prosecutor. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Christie will be well-versed in the disasters she allowed to develop on her watch at the State Department.

3. Do some traveling and some listening on foreign policy, bringing in an array of advisers who are credible and respected. Starting now saves him from cramming later.

4. Lay out some conservative agenda items for the next year in Trenton, N.J., on health care, taxes and education to capitalize on his reelection and remind Republicans how effective a conservative executive can be. On the national level, he can put forth some of his successful initiatives and also crib from reformers on the national stage, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

5. Go ahead and throw some punches at national Democrats and at liberals more generally. Christie can remind the right that when it comes to pummeling adversaries there is no one tougher and more amusing. He’s taken on the teachers’ unions, now what about the radical environmentalists who are blocking domestic energy production?

7. Campaign for some Republicans in 2014, thereby getting his face out there and earning some chits from future lawmakers.

8. Lock down the Eastern corridor donors and the rest of Mitt Romney’s donor list; he’s got the ability to starve other candidates of funds and set up an effective financial team for 2016.

9. Be the grown up in the 2016 race and keep up the barrage against Washington, D.C., antics. Fostering the role of the common sense, tough-minded adult won’t take much effort considering some of the competition.

10. Make more appearances in nonpolitical media, evidencing his likability and ease with popular culture.

And no, he doesn’t need to lose much weight so long as he shows his continued vigor.
Americans don’t need a skinny president; struggling with his physique puts him in the company of millions of Americans.