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Christie Would Become Instant No. 1 in Race, Face Challenges

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie -- on the brink of deciding whether to run for president as Republicans shower him with entreaties to do so -- could catapult to the front of an unsettled party field, strategists say, even as he would face a difficult road to nomination.

For Republicans yearning for a fresh face, Christie, 49 -- a government budget-slasher who has taken on labor unions and called some of his critics ``crazies'' -- would appear ideal.