WASHINGTON New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Wednesday he sees an opportunity to run for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination in 2012, but is not going to take it.
Christie, a brash, blustery politician who scored an improbable Republican victory in a largely Democratic state a little over a year ago, has been under pressure to join what is expected to be a crowded field of Republicans aiming to deny President Barack Obama a second four-year term as president.
"I'm not stupid," Christie said in response to questions after a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "I see the opportunity. I see it. That's not the reason to run."
"You have to believe in your heart and in your soul and in your mind that you are ready," he said.
Many Republicans would like to see him run for president to shake up a Republican field that is expected to include former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.
"Listen I threatened to commit suicide, I did ... to convince people I'm not running. Apparently I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I'm not running," Christie said.
One reason the New Jersey governor cited for his decision not to run was "my wife will kill me" if he did.
Christie hurled criticism mostly at Obama and the president's fellow Democrats but also at congressional Republicans for failing to seriously address the U.S. fiscal situation.
"It's time for us to get to work, to find our greatness again," he said.
Christie has been pushing for reform of state pensions, health benefits and education in fiscally strapped New Jersey and has gained national attention for his efforts.
Christie attracted 6 percent of the vote in a straw poll among conservative activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting last weekend in Washington, even though he did not attend.
(Editing by Will Dunham)