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Chris Christie rules himself out of White House race

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in Trenton, New Jersey, on 4 October 2011
The New Jersey governor won his election in November 2009

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced that he is not running for the White House, after weeks of calls for him to enter the race.

Mr Christie held a news conference at the governor's office, where he told reporters: "Now is not my time."

The Republican has spent the past week reconsidering calls from the party to run for president.

He would not be drawn on endorsing any of the Republican pack, currently led by Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

"I have a commitment to New Jersey that I simply will not abandon," Mr Christie said.

The governor repeated throughout the press conference that he did not want to leave the job to which he was elected, either through campaigning or resigning if he won.

"In the end what I've always felt was the right decision remains the right decision today," he said.

He added: "You're stuck with me".

'Too late'

Encouragement from Republicans like Henry Kissinger, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush had led him to reconsider a bid.

But correspondents said that jumping into the race a few weeks before the filing deadline would have left Mr Christie far behind his rivals in fundraising and organising.

The Associated Press news agency reports that advisers to Mr Christie had said his decision was in part because it would have been too late to set up the needed infrastructure.

Elected governor in 2009, Mr Christie has a reputation as a tough-talking, fiscally conservative governor.

Mr Christie did not rule out a future presidential bid and used his moment in the national spotlight to criticise President Barack Obama.

"This is an example of someone who has failed the leadership test," Mr Christie said. "You can't be taught how to lead and make decisions."

His announcement will swing focus back to the two leaders of the race for the Republican nomination to challenge Mr Obama in the November 2012 presidential elections.

Texas Governor Perry's lead has proved fragile after he was criticised for controversial remarks on the campaign trail and over his TV debating performance.

And former Massachusetts Governor Romney has struggled to win over Tea Party supporters and conservative Republicans.

A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows Mr Romney regaining the lead among the Republican candidates, although his support has remained relatively static for months.

The survey placed businessman Herman Cain - who has won praise for recent strong debating performances - tied on second place with Mr Perry.

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