Haley Barbour has announced that he will not seek the Presidency in 2012.
As head of the Republican Governors Association, Barbour was a staunch supporter of Chris Christie's gubernatorial run. And since Christie is essentially a fundraiser at heart, he knows not to bite the hand that feeds him. So since the RGA pumped millions of dollars into Christie's campaign, Christie raised millions for Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2010.
As long as Haley Barbour was a potential Presidential candidate, Christie could not run. Christie simply will not run against anyone who supported him to the extent Barbour did -- it would violate the Christie brand of rewarding his benefactors and punishing his foes.
But it's an entirely new situation now, opening the possibility that Barbour himself, through the RGA, would launch a draft Christie campaign. Why would Barbour do that? His term as Governor of Mississippi is up in 2012, and he is term barred from running again. Which means Barbour will be looking for a job in 2012. Helping Christie take the White House would mean a plum position in Washington for Barbour.
Time will tell.