For Chris Christie, the final question on a potential 2016 bid is: "Do I want to do it?"
The New Jersey governor has said he'll decide whether to join the already-crowded field of candidates vying for the Republican nomination this month as New Jersey wraps up its legislative session. But he's still weighing what is in his heart.
"I go through all the different factors that I need to consider. And when I'm done, I check that off and I move to the next factor. And the factor I'm down to now, John, is do I want to do it? Do I want to do it? In my heart, is this something that I really, absolutely want to do?" he told "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson.
Christie spoke with Dickerson from New Hampshire, where he had participated in a roundtable discussion with residents to talk about drug rehabilitation. Despite the growing movement to legalize one drug, marijuana, Christie pledged that he would reverse course on the federal government's permissiveness towards states that have done so like Colorado and Washington.
Asked how this might affect his election prospects in Colorado, a key swing state in presidential elections, Christie didn't budge.
"I think there's probably a lot of people in Colorado who are not too thrilled with what's going on there right now," he said. "You know the way you win any state? You go out and you tell people the truth and you lay out your ideas. And you either win or you lose. But I don't believe that people just want to be told what they want to hear. I believe they want to be told the truth as the person who's running sees it."
Speaking more broadly about drug addiction, Christie said that a president can use the bully pulpit to help "lower stigma" about seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
"Right now people, as I said before, see it as a moral failing," he said. The president can carry a message of, "You're not a failure, you're sick and we want to help you get better, and we're gonna, in this country, emphasize, for first time, that this is a disease and that we need to give people the treatment that they need to get better," he added.
Christie also said, "We can no longer incarcerate our way out of this problem," a nod to the growing movement to reform drug sentencing laws.
Though he's not officially a candidate, Christie isn't holding back on criticizing his fellow politicians. He went after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who last week accused him and other Republican governors of trying to depress turnout at the polls among young and minority voters.
"In New Jersey, we have early voting that are available to people. I don't want to expand it and increase the opportunities for fraud. And maybe that's what Mrs. Clinton wants to do," he said.
He accused Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who is running for the GOP nomination, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who helped author a bill to reform National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, of "grandstanding for political purposes."
President Obama signed a bill into law last week that strips the NSA of its authorization to collect phone metadata records in bulk. Instead, the data will be held by telecommunications companies and the government must request the specific records it needs.
"The actions that were taken this week by Congress has made our country weaker and more vulnerable," Christie said. He cited his experience as a U.S. attorney in New Jersey as the source of his expertise on the issue.
"I'm the guy who understands this stuff and has done it. And he's the guy who sits up on Capitol Hill in subcommittee meetings and theorizes about it," Christie said. He later slammed Paul and Lee for "making up fictions" to scare people.
He argued that Congress should use its vigorous oversight capacity to make sure the intelligence community isn't overstepping its boundaries rather than taking away their "tools" to conduct investigations.
When Dickerson pointed out that critics of the NSA surveillance say the agency doesn't tell them the truth about what it is doing, Christie said, "If every time somebody didn't tell me the 100 percent truth when I was a prosecutor, if I then just threw my hands up and gave up, I wouldn't have been much of a prosecutor."
Christie will have to defend other parts of his record if he decides to run. One issue where he is likely to face questions from primary voters is on his past support for the Common Core Educational Standards, which are growing increasingly unpopular among the GOP base. Now, Christie says they won't work.
"Unlike some other folks who just reflexively dismissed it, I said, 'All right. Let's give it a chance. Let's see if it'll work. It was originally written by the nation's governors. Let's give it a chance,'" Christie said. "But in four years, John, we did not have educators or parents buy into Common Core.
"If what I'm worried about is, if I change my mind, gosh, somebody like John Dickerson's going to accuse me, you know, of flip-flopping, well, that's the way it goes," he continued. "That's being stubborn and not being a leader. If you give something four years, which we did in New Jersey, to work and it doesn't work, then you need to change 'cause you owe it to the kids and their parents to do something different."
Dickerson also talked to Christie about his conversation with one voter, who worried about New Jersey's bond rating reductions and Christie's blunt, but sometimes unpredictable personality.
On New Jersey's economic record, Christie said credit downgrades are "just one part" of a record that also includes the creation of 186,000 private-sector jobs in five years, budget cutbacks and a cap on property taxes. He said that he came into office he inherited a state that was an "absolute fiscal basket case."
And with regards to his public speaking style, Christie said, "Campaigns are about convincing people. You now, if the election were a week from today, I'd be really nervous about that guy. The fact that it's eight months from today. I've got plenty of time to convince him I'm not risky at all if I decide to run."