This might be the first time in his life that Chris Christie is the prettiest girl at the dance, but the Livingston High grad is NOT going to run for president.

The media has been jumping on any morsel, any sentence from any source, but Christie is not going to run.

Our governor is currently out of state living up to very old commitments to speak and raise money for Republican candidates for this and that.

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His speech at the Ronald Reagan Museum the other night had the cable TV folks examining every sentence, every syllable, for any hint of anything other than “no, I’m not running.”

Chris might smile and Chris might flirt, but he’s not that kind of girl. He’s not even thinking about going all the way. He’s not going to run. He has his principles. Some at the dance might get frustrated, and some might question his principles down to the core, but he’s got his principles and he’s not running.

Meanwhile, former Governor Tom Kean sent the media abuzz when he was quoted on National Review magazine’s web site a day earlier as saying Christie was giving a presidential run “a lot of thought.”

Yes, he’s giving it a lot of thought. Of course he is. How could he not? He’s questioned about it night and day. Of course he’s giving it a lot of thought. But, the more he thinks about it, the more he keeps saying what he’s said for months: that he’s not running. No way, no how.

It must be great to be the prettiest girl at the dance. Most of us will never know that feeling. How about letting Chris Christie enjoy the moment? A few years from now, he won’t be so fresh, he won’t be so untouched, such a belle of the ball.

Right now, he is. Let him enjoy it. And, from all appearances, he IS enjoying it. He’s making speeches to friendly audiences, getting great applause and trying to look as though he’s humble as he fields the same old questions about running or not running day after day.

Here are a few news flashes for you out-of-towners: De Lorenzo’s Pizza, family-run in Trenton since 1947, really is as good as Zagat’s says -- a holy experience… Cape May is better than Cape Cod… Hoboken is better than Greenwich Village… Broadway, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall are all a quick ride away… Springsteen, Nicholson, Streep, Sarandon, Lombardi, Jeter… Soprano’s, Boardwalk Empire…

Gov. Kean told the National Review that “I think the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple of weeks ago.”

Yes, the odds moved from 1 percent to 3 percent. That’s a tripling, but it‘s a far cry from 50-50.

Gov. Kean has always been a class act. He served the state with honesty and dignity as governor, and he served the country with integrity and intellect as co-chair of the 911 Committee.

Anything Kean says on any topic is worth noting, but he really didn’t say all that much here.

Days earlier, Christie, himself, spoke some slightly-negative words about the Republican field of presidential candidates, and that, too, was instant fodder for the media to pounce upon and turn into a “will he or won’t he?” piece, even if it’s clear that he won’t. Hey, it killed 4-6 minutes on any given cablecast.

He’s not running. How many times does he have to say it?

It’s nice to be pretty. It’s nice to be asked to dance. Some might even blush. Some might even giggle. (Not Chris, of course, but some.)
Christie said that none of the current candidates are particularly stoking his fire, but that’s it. Such a simple little statement by Christie, and the media jumps on it and turns it into a story that “Christie is reconsidering,” or “Christie is changing his tune.”

No he’s not. He’s not running. There is no way that he’s running.

He never said he’s running. He never said he’s even wildly thinking about it.

He never even hinted that he’s running.

All he said was that he’s disappointed that the current candidates aren’t laying it on the line. Well, we’re all disappointed in that… and none of us is running for president.

The media need a story every night… every few minutes… Christie is a good story… He’s outspoken. He’s overweight… He’s from a place the nation knows for Giants Stadium, the Sopranos and the Jersey Shore.

All of which makes Chris Christie extremely colorful and susceptible to the national media hoopla.

But, he’s not running.

Christie gained Drumthwacket by topping the highly distasteful incumbent, Jon Corzine. At that time, any mention of a  presidential run in a year and a half would have resulted in an instant drug test.

Then, Christie spoke some obvious truths about schools and unions and mathematics -- things that every Trenton legislator has talked about for years, only “off the record.” Christie was willing to speak out loud. Some love him, some hate him, and criticize him all you want, but saying out in public what everybody had always said behind closed doors did take some chutzpah.

So, he got a some quasi-populist support, not only in New Jersey but throughout the blogosphere. That put him on television and that gained him some media support to run for president.

But, forget it. He’s not running.

Carl Barbati has covered state NJ government and politics at daily newspapers for over 25 years.