Christie told a capacity audience of about 900 he was flattered by suggestions in a question-and-answer session that he should run in 2012, but added, "that reason has to reside inside me."
In his speech, the Republican governor warned that the nation's credibility abroad was being damaged by troubles at home. He charged that an indecisive White House has deepened the nation's economic pain, and he accused President Barack Obama of preparing to divide the country to win re-election next year.
Christie, who walked into the Reagan Library with Nancy Reagan on his arm, spent most of the night honoring her late husband.
"Ronald Reagan was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said," Christie said.
Christie said Reagan would not agree with President Obama's stance on raising taxes on the rich.
"Insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who already achieved the American dream, that may turn out to be a good re-election strategy for President Obama, but it is a demoralizing message for America," Christie said.
Christie's appearance came during a three-day national trip in which he is raising money for Republicans and networking with party rainmakers.
With a reputation as a blunt-talking budget-cutter, the Reagan stage gave Christie the opportunity to extend his influence in a party that views him as a rising star.
"I think he has more leadership ability than anyone else I've seen," said Dick Troop, who arrived from Malibu to be in attendance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.