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Chris Christie opts out of a presidential run: 'Duh alert'?

The New Jersey governor dashes conservative dreams by announcing once and for all that he will not join the 2012 race

The video: After spending more than a year asserting that he would not run for president in 2012, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put the final nail in the coffin Tuesday. Responding to a chorus of GOP powerbrokers who all but begged Christie to join the crowd of GOP hopefuls seeking to make Barack Obama a one-term president, the governor insisted at a news conference in Trenton that "for me, the answer was never anything but no. Now is not my time." (Watch the video below.) There had been a recent resurgence in speculation that Christie might reconsider — much of it prompted by GOP dissatisfaction with struggling candidate Rick Perry, who many conservatives had hoped would be the party's 2012 savior. Regardless, Christie is staying true to his original promise. "So, New Jersey," he said, "whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me."

The reaction: "Duh alert," says Joe Garofoli at The San Francisco Chronicle. Christie has said over and over and over again that he's not running — so this should come as absolutely no surprise. Indeed, all Christie's talk about "not being ready, about not having the fire in his impressive belly — he wasn't making it up," says Dan Amira at New York. Regardless, this was a smart choice, says Ciro Scotti at The Fiscal Times. Now instead of spending the next year in "a blur of outstretched hands," Christie gets to be a GOP kingmaker, with the candidates sure to come "thundering to Trenton to plead for [his] imprimatur." And now that Christie's officially out, says Adam Sorensen at TIME, Mitt Romney must be breathing easy. A Northeastern moderate without "the albatross of Romney's Obama-esque health reform," Christie would have appealed to the party's base in a way Romney simply doesn't. Every vote for Christie would have been taken "right out of Mitt Romney's pocket" — and Christie's decision Tuesday proves yet again that Romney is "every bit as lucky as he is good." Watch Christie's announcement:

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