TRENTON, New Jersey - Two people close to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie say he is reconsidering his decision not to run for the White House in 2012. They say he is expected to make a final decision soon.
Christie has long said he won't run in 2012. But the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about it, say he is rethinking his hard stance.
Calls have been intensifying from top Republican donors and party elders for Christie to jump into the race. President Barack Obama's weak approval ratings and a Republican field that has been struggling to put forward a clear front-runner are also creating an opening.
Republican insiders familiar with Christie's thinking about a presidential bid are now putting the odds of him running at 50-50, telling CBS News there's a "decent chance" he will get in. If Christie rules it out, as one insider said, it's because he will see too many potential roadblocks in his path to the Republican nomination.
The filing deadline for the Florida primary is the end of next month, and Christie would need to put together a campaign team and fundraising apparatus within a matter of weeks if he decides to get in. And he could have a hard time keeping up with Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in fundraising when he does get in, since he'll have to focus on developing a national platform and prepare for debates and interviews.
It's also unknown how rank-and-file Republicans will respond to Christie, who holds moderate views on bedrock conservative issues like gun control, civil unions, and immigration that will make it hard for him to compete in the first-in-the-nation voting state of Iowa.
But Christie would also enter the race with serious advantages, including the strong support of wealthy northeastern donors and a brash, confrontational style that makes many Republicans swoon.
Some are now questioning whether Christie's weight will be a liability in a presidential race -- or an asset. He suggested earlier this year that the fact that he is overweight gives him "everyman" appeal but said it could also turn off voters.