Mitt Romney painted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) as the standard bearer of the Republican Party going forward — even saying that if he were to win the Republican nomination for president in 2016, he could “save our party.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Romney also took a not-so-subtle jab at Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), a Tea Party favourite, by refusing to put him on a short-list of people he thinks are legitimate 2016 Republican contenders.
“Chris, by the way, could easily become our nominee and save our party and help get this nation on the right track again,” Romney told host David Gregory. “They don’t come better than Chris Christie.”
Romney’s praise of Christie came at a time when a new book, “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” details the nightmarish vetting process of Christie as a potential vice presidential candidate in last year’s election. There were concerns about his health, weight, and other issues that popped up from Christie’s time as attorney general and from his brother’s securities-fraud settlement.
Romney brushed those aside, saying Christie had satisfied his campaign’s requirements. He also cast Christie’s credentials — and the fact that he is set up to win re-election by a landslide in blue-state New Jersey on Tuesday — as something that makes him stand out as a member of the 2016-hopeful field.
“At this stage, 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, with support of labour and blue-collar voters in New Jersey,” Romney said.
“It’s a pretty compelling story. And there are some other very compelling stories. Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio — I mean, there’s a long list of very capable people. But Chris Christie stands out as one of the very strongest lights in the Republican Party.”
Gregory followed up and asked if Romney also saw Cruz as a “strong light.”
“Look, I’m not going to disqualify anybody,” Romney said. “But I think I’ve indicated some of the names that I think are most effective in becoming elected, and we’ll see where it goes.”
Here’s the clip:
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