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Does Gov. Chris Christie have a softer edge?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sat down with Gayle King for a wide-ranging interview
Gov. Chris Christie on 2016 elections, "war on drugs" and weight loss 05:01

There's no front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but one name always makes the short list: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

In an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King, Christie said his decision making process regarding whether he will run for president is simple.

"Is it right for me? Is it right for my family? And is it right for the country? If I answer all three of those, 'yes,' I'll run. If I answer any one of them, 'no,' I won't. That's it," he said.

Some have called him the "compassionate conservative," noting there's a softer edge to him than before.

"You have to understand as a leader that there are times where you have to be tough and direct, and times where you have to be softer and listen. And I can do both," Christie said.

Rhetoric like that has led to speculation that Christie may be laying the groundwork for a 2016 election campaign.

Christie remains dismissive of the chatter, telling King that, "for the people who really know me, they know this is who I've been all along."

He defended the times he publicly berated those who might disagree with him.

"Those people deserved to have their heads taken off," he told King. "I'll still do that when I need to. But I don't just have one club in the bag, for the golfers who are watching this, okay?"

Christie approached a local issue with that softer edge, hosting an event on drug addiction and rehab at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. Christie called the issue a "disease" because it can happen to anyone.

"No question, it can happen to anyone, any family, no matter your education, your economic background, your race, your religion, suburb," Christie said. "And so we need to give those people the tools and treat it as a disease. We're not helping our society by just locking people up."

He said people need to approach the drug crisis with compassion because the "war on drugs" is not effective.

"It is a dismal failure," he said. "It was well-intentioned. It was absolutely well-intentioned. But we now know, after 30-plus years of it, that it hasn't worked."

What works is treatment, he said, and while they won't be able to save every life, "we gotta try."

Christie said he is pro-life, and he believes every stage of life is "precious."

"We can't just be worried about them in the womb. We gotta be worried about them when they come out of the womb."

The panel was held intentionally at Whitney Houston's church. The artist died of a drug overdose in 2012.

"It's no coincidence because you can't judge a person by their disease," Christie said. "She was an extraordinary New Jerseyan, with her weaknesses, with her flaws. And we need to honor those people, and we do not need to judge them."

Christie also discussed his weight loss and the attention he has received for it.

"I had a guy just the other day, and he was significantly overweight. And he was talking to me about it. And we were walking down the stairs, and he says, 'So come on, tell me, how much weight have you lost?' So I said, 'A lot.' And he said to me, 'No, no, I mean, exactly how much?' And I said, 'A lot.' And he said, 'Well, why won't you tell me? And I said, ''Cause it's none of your business.'"

As for how much more weight he wants to lose, he would not say.

"I'll know when I'll be satisfied, and so will Mary Pat," he said, laughing. "And those are the only two people that really matter in all this, right?"

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