Governor Branstad’s “Education Summit” is drawing national attention — not for the subject matter, but for one of the speakers.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is scheduled to give a speech at the summit on Monday afternoon. Christie’s mere presence in Iowa ramps up speculation about his presidential aspirations. Christie has repeatedly said he is not going to seek the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2012, but party insiders keep pressuring him to enter the race.
Last October, Christie was the headliner for a Branstad campaign fundraiser and afterwards Branstad gushed about Christie’s speech.
“I don’t think I’ve been that inspired by a speech since Ronald Reagan was here and spoke,” Branstad said.
While in Iowa last fall, Christie told reporters he didn’t feel “absolutely ready” to run for president since he’s only been governor since January of 2010.
“I listen and go to the beat of my own drummer on these things,” Christie said.
When pressed by a reporter, Christie was even more blunt about jumping into the presidential race. “You’ve heard me say it dozens of different ways,” Christie said back in October. “No chance. No way. No how. Door is closed.”
Branstad stood next to Christie, chuckling.
Branstad’s two-day education summit starts Monday. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is scheduled to give a keynote address. Branstad has dropped plans to call legislators back into special session yet this year to enact some of the proposals which emerge from the summit.