The saga of Chris Christie’s non-existent 2012 presidential run continues. And as mentioned before, his denials do nothing but spark more speculation. Like his latest one, which simultaneously gladdened and saddened the hearts of many conservatives.

Speaking with National Review editor Rich Lowry, Christie made a bold prediction while also throwing cold water on the hot presidential rumors:

Yes. Believe me, I’ve been interested in politics my whole life. I see the opportunity. But I just don’t believe that’s why you run. Like I said at AEI, I have people calling me and saying to me, “Let me explain to you how you could win.” And I’m like, “You’re barking up the wrong tree. I already know I could win.” That’s not the issue. The issue is not me sitting here and saying, “Geez, it might be too hard. I don’t think I can win.” I see the opportunity both at the primary level and at the general election level. I see the opportunity.

But I’ve got to believe I’m ready to be president, and I don’t. And I think that that’s the basis you have to make that decision. I think when you have people who make the decision just based upon seeing the opportunity you have a much greater likelihood that you’re going to have a president who is not ready. And then we all suffer from that. Even if you’re a conservative, if your conservative president is not ready, you’re not going to be good anyway because you’re going to get rolled all over the place in that town. [Emphasis added]

Lowry, who is part of the increasing gaggle cheering a Christie run, didn’t let the NJ governor off easy.

“On the readiness front, you can’t argue with what he feels, but I think he’s wrong,” Lowry writes. “He’s at least as ready as Bill Clinton in 1991 (indecisive governor of a small state), George W. Bush in 1999 (decisive governor of big state, but in a very weak office), and Barack Obama in 2007 (no executive experience whatsoever).”

During the interview, Lowry tried one more time to convince Christie: “I joked with the governor that if he’s getting better every day, by November 2012, he’ll be ready to go. He laughed, but seemed unconvinced.”

Read more from Lowry and Christie — including Christie’s thoughts on his political progress — here.