Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, 2012 Republican presidential Mitt Romney defended New Jersey governor Chris Christie, whom it was reported last week was vetted and turned down by the Romney campaign for vice president. “Chris could easily become our nominee and save our party and help get this nation on the right track again,” Romney said of Christie. “They don’t come better than Chris Christie.”
Romney said that his concerns about Christie in 2012 no longer applied: “I know in a campaign people drudge up all the old stuff again, but he’s already dealt with it. His health is very solid, very good. There’s not an issue there….He’s a very popular governor in a very blue state. That’s the kind of popularity and the kind of track record the Republican party needs if we’re going to take back the White House.”
Romney didn’t endorse Christie outright, instead saying, “It’s kind of early to say who is the most electable and who would be the favorite candidate. But you look at Chris Christie and say that’s a very impressive guy with a great track record, with a demonstrated ability to work across the aisle….It’s a pretty compelling story. And there’s some other very compelling stories: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). I mean, there is a long list of very capable people, but Chris Christie stands out as one of the very strongest lights of the Republican Party.”
Romney also fought back against the idea that the most conservative candidate should win the Republican nomination. “I just happen to think you want to combine conservatism with the ability to get elected,” he said.