NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in Nashville on Friday that he won't decide whether to run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination until sometime next year.
"I've said to folks, I'm certainly thinking about it," Christie told reporters during a brief stop at Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
But "it's a lifetime away until 2016," he said. "My mother taught me a long time ago, stupid people make decisions before they have to. I'm not stupid."
After being greeted profanely by a heckler talking of "payback" on his way into the restaurant, Christie heard applause once he got inside and started pressing the flesh. He quickly ran across Jessica Levy, a 25-year-old New York woman in a white cowboy hat who was there for her bachelorette party with a group of friends in pink "Jessica's Last Rodeo" tank tops.
Levy, who said she's getting married in about three weeks, said she saw the bright lights set up in the restaurant and figured someone interesting was coming in, but not Christie.
"We thought, they're going to film Nashville," she said.
Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the Tennessee Republican Party's annual Statesmen's Dinner on Friday night. He was campaigning earlier in the day for Haslam, who is expected to cruise to re-election in November.
Christie's political ascent has been slowed by a scandal tied to some of his closest aides over the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., which the aides ordered as political retribution against a mayor who didn't endorse the governor's re-election bid last year.