(Photo: Screen Grab via ABC)
About 30 pounds lighter from weight-loss surgery in February, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently touted his conservative Republican stripes and danced around buzz that he might run for the presidency of the United States in 2016.
Christie bluntly affirmed his conservative roots in a promotional clip from an extended interview with NBC News' Rock Center with Brian Williams scheduled to air Friday at 10pm/9CDT.
"Is it a fair question to ask that if you ran as a Republican for President of the United States, what Republican Party do you see that would support your candidacy out there right now, how would you survive a primary process under the current set-up of the Republican Party?" asked Williams.
"Listen, I think very well. I'll worry about the presidency if and when I decide to run for it, but if you're saying to me 'how do I feel as a Republican?' I'm a damn good Republican and a good conservative Republican who believes in the things that I believe in, but that does not mean that I would ever put party before my state or party before my country," said Christie in the 40-second clip.
On Tuesday, Christie's press secretary confirmed that the governor, who had an ongoing struggle with obesity, underwent lap band surgery in February to make his stomach smaller at the request of his wife and children.
The popular plain-spoken Christie who rejected aggressive appeals from fellow Republicans to run for president before the 2012 election, also denied speculation that he underwent the surgery for his political ambitions.
"I know it sounds crazy to say that running for president is minor, but in the grand scheme of things, it was looking at Mary Pat and the kids and going, 'I have to do this for them, even if I don't give a crap about myself,'" Christie told the New York Post, which first reported the story.
Shortly after the passage of Hurricane Sandy which ravaged parts of New Jersey about six months ago, Christie was branded a traitor by some Republican colleagues for praising President Barack Obama's response to the storm.
In a recent follow-up interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Christie continued his praise of the president, saying he "kept every promise."
"A lot of conservatives say they're done with you, you're finished in national politics because of what you did. Six months later, do you have any regrets?" asked MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.
"No," said Christie. "I say the same thing to all my critics no matter where they are on the spectrum, and that is that I've got a job to do. And the fact is that there was nothing else that ever crossed my mind in the days after."
"The president has kept every promise that he made," Christie highlighted. "And that fact is, that's what I was saying at the time. What I was saying at the time, I was asked about how was the president doing? And I said, he's doing a good job, he's kept his word."
"And so, everybody knows I have about 95 percent level of disagreement with Barack Obama on issues of principle and philosophy, but the fact is we have a job to do. And what people expect from people they elect is to do their job," said Christie.