New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) went on four morning talk shows on Sunday to tout his sweeping re-election victory as a model for the Republican Party nationwide, but the prospective 2016 presidential contender carefully refrained from staking a position on contentious issues such as immigration reform and deliberations over Iran’s nuclear program.
Throughout the morning, Christie left the door open for a 2016 presidential run while making it clear that governing New Jersey is his focus right now. When asked if his victory would be a boost in a key primary state like Iowa, Christie dismissed the idea that he was laying the groundwork for a future presidential run.
“I’m playing in New Jersey, and that’s what I care about,” Christie said on ABC’s “This Week.”
He was sure to leave his options open, however.
“Who knows?” Christie said when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if he would complete an entire second term as governor. “Nobody can make those predictions.”
Christie was not hesitant to prescribe his re-election strategy to the rest of the Republican party. When asked if there was a lesson on campaigning to be learned from his success, Christie said that you need to “show up.”
“The lesson is to govern,” Christie said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “The lesson is to govern and to show up. You can’t just show up six months before an election into groups that have not normally voted for you and expect they are going to vote for you. You go there, you listen, and you present your views, and that’s the way you bring people into your movement.”
Christie said this was key in winning minority voters.
“If you want to win a vote by that kind of margin,” Christie said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You need to go into those neighborhoods.”
The New Jersey governor faced criticism from other potential 2016 GOP candidates like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) immediately after his win, who questioned Christie’s conservative bona fides.
“I don’t get into these labels — that’s the Washington, DC game,” Christie responded on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Judge me by my record.”
While Christie was willing to talk big picture, he notably refused to take a stance on Iran’s nuclear program and the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform.
“I think there are people who are significantly better-briefed on this than I am,” Christie said of this weeks deliberations with Iran on ABC’s “This Week.” “I think it’s very dangerous for folks like me to get involved.”
He also said that national leaders need to decide whether the country needs a path to citizenship, which he once supported, and would not state his point of view on the matter, though he recognized that the system needed to be fixed.
“It”s a broken system. It’s not working for our economy. It’s not working for the government,” Christie said on ABC.
The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill, but it looks unlikely that reform will move through the House any time soon. The third-ranking House Republican, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), said Friday that immigration reform will not come up for a vote in the House this year.