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Chris Christie Kicks Off Fundraising Swing with St. Louis Stop

Governor's Office/Tim Larsen(CLAYTON, Mo.) -- With speculation swirling that he might reconsider his decision not to enter the Republican presidential race, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday kicked off a weeklong cross-country GOP fundraising swing with a private event at a Ritz-Carlton just outside of St. Louis.

Hotel security kicked ABC News out of the venue before the event had started, noting that it was closed to press. The event was held in a second-floor room known as "The Boardroom," with a long wooden table that appeared to seat approximately 15 people.

Outside the hotel a small group of about 20 union protesters gathered momentarily before Christie's arrival, chanting "Just say no to Christie's lies, defend our right to organize." But they quickly dispersed after only a matter of minutes.

As ABC's Michael Falcone has reported, sources close to Christie have said that "the pressure from donors and other people has intensified" and the "volume of calls" urging Christie to run have increased, but that "nothing has changed."

If Christie decides to run for president, he won’t be the first person to jump into a race after saying that he would not.  After all, when Tim Russert asked Barack Obama when he was still a senator whether he would run in 2008, Obama said, “I will not.”

In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer on April 6, Christie said, “I don’t feel ready in my heart to be president. And unless I do, I don’t have any right offering myself to the people of this country.”

After three events in the St. Louis area Monday and Tuesday, Christie will head to California before wrapping up his whirlwind tour later this week in Louisiana.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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