Chris Christie told Meg Whitman last week he's not running

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Perspectives on Leadership Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011. Gov. Christie warned Tuesday that America's promise is being menaced from within, as a troubled U.S. economy, shaky leadership and political gridlock diminish the nation's ability to solve its problems.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to announce his final decision on whether he will seek the presidency this week, and a report published Tuesday suggests the answer will be the same one he has given dozens of times in recent weeks: No.

The Wall Street Journal reports Meg Whitman, the newly named chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, held a fundraiser for Christie last week on the condition that he not run for president against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Whitman's preferred candidate.

The newspaper said the former eBay chief and her husband Griff Harsh hosted a dinner for 15 couples Wednesday at their Silicon Valley home, where each couple paid $15,000 to attend. The proceeds were for New Jersey Republicans.

Asked whether he would join the 2012 race, Christie told the diners "no," the newspaper said, citing "a person with knowledge of the event."

Christie has caused a stir in political circles in the past week as he has made it known he is reconsidering his repeated refusals to join the presidential race. Calls for him to run have been so strong he had even joked that he would have to commit suicide to convince people he really, truly, was not running.

And then the New Jersey governor gave a high-profile speech last Tuesday at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California where a questioner gave an impassioned plea for him to change his mind. His answer was not the same blanket no it had been in days prior.

Christie has since signaled he is at least thinking about jumping in the race, though logistical hurdles for starting a campaign this late in the game remain high.

Republican insiders familiar with Christie's thinking last week after the Reagan library speech told CBS News his chances of jumping in the race were split at 50-50.

The dinner was one day after the speech, and the Wall Street Journal said Whitman extracted the pledge from Christie when the event was being planned earlier in the month.

A poll released Tuesday morning by CBS Newsshowed that despite the recent blitz of media attention, Christie is still not well known to most Americans.

A full 70 percent of voters say they are undecided about Christie or haven't heard enough about him, the poll found. Voters who did have an opinion of Christie were split, with 14 percent holding a favorable view and 15 percent holding an unfavorable view.

The filing deadline for the Florida primary is just weeks away, and Christie would need to put together a campaign team and fundraising apparatus at lightning speed if he decides to get in. And he could have a hard time keeping up with Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in fundraising if he does get in, since he'll have to focus on developing a national platform and prepare for debates and interviews.

  • Corbett Daly On Twitter» Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.