Chris Christie says he has no favorite yet in GOP presidential field

As he defended his use of a state helicopter to meet with Republican donors urging him to run for president, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie repeated what he told the group on Tuesday: count me out.

Speaking with reporters at a news conference in Denville, N.J., on Thursday, Christie denied a report quoting one of the donors saying that the governor did not entirely rule out running in 2012.

“I didn’t kick them out of the house before they ate -- maybe that’s what he considers leaving the door open,” Christie joked.

Seven influential Republicans from the key early voting state of Iowa made an unusual pilgrimage to meet with Christie at Drumthwacket, the New Jersey governor’s mansion, hoping to get him to reconsider his political plans.


They made “some very, very interesting and compelling arguments as to why I should run,” Christie said. But he told them, “I’m not available to be convinced,” citing his four-year commitment to New Jersey voters.

Christie also said that while he may endorse a Republican in the primaries, no candidate has stood out as deserving of his support just yet.

“I don’t like anybody,” he said. “I don’t feel any need to be jumping around and endorsing anybody at the moment.”

He’s met with Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, two declared candidates, to discuss the race; another meeting is scheduled with former Ambassador Jon Huntsman.

“I want to see what these folks have to say about the future of our country. I want to see how they perform as candidates. I want to see what they’re going to say about the issues that New Jerseyans care about,” he said.

“If I’m going to be for somebody ... I’m going to go out there and work for him, campaign for him, fight for him -- or her,” he continued.

Christie said his use of the state helicopter to get to Tuesday’s meeting didn’t cost taxpayers any extra funds, but he had the state Republican Party reimburse the treasury to avoid any controversy.

“We didn’t think it was appropriate to be late for them,” he said of the donors.