Governor Chris Christie and Democrat challenger Barbara Buono went head-to-head in their first debate of the gubernatorial election talking jobs, taxes, gay marriage, the athletic department controversy at Rutgers and Christie's presidential ambitions.

(L-R) Senator Barbara Buono (D) and Governor Chris Christie (R) debate at William Paterson University (WCBS TV)

William Paterson University in Wayne was the setting for the debate, the first of two before the November election.

Christie was asked point blank by moderator Kristine Johnson from WCBS TV if he will be running for president; the governor says he is not ruling out a run and he won't decide until he has to. Buono believes Christie's policies on women's health and gay marriage are already geared toward Republican primary voters.

During tonight’s debate the topic of same sex marriage was addressed. Governor Christie said people of good will can have differences of opinion about the issue, but he believes the institution of marriage is between one man and one woman and if we’re going to change the definition of it, that shouldn't be decided by 121 politicians in Trenton or 7 Judges on the Supreme Court.  It should be up to the people of New Jersey.


Debate host and panelists (WCBS TV)


David Mathau and the Associated Press contributed to this report