The day after earning the crucial endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney did not dismiss the possibility of a Christie/Romney ticket, should Romney earn the GOP nomination.
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“Of course, he'd be on anyone's shortlist,’’ Romney said of Christie in a TODAY interview Tuesday. “He may take himself off the list and say, ‘No way.' He'd have no interest. But the truth is that Gov. Christie is one of the leading figures in the Republican party, and of course anyone who becomes our nominee is going to look at people like Gov. Christie and say, ‘Well, that would be a terrific person to have on the ticket.’’’
Christie told NBC's Jamie Gangel that Romney hasn't made him any promises, but evaded direct questions about his vice presidential aspirations with jokes.
“I don't know that I'd be anybody's good match in that regard,’’ Christie said. “But ultimately, that kind of thing is up to the person who's the presidential nominee to decide who they think is the best person for them, and most importantly, the best person for the country.’’
“We're great friends,’’ Romney said. “We agree on a whole host of issues. We spent time together over the last year, getting to know each other better. I've asked for his counsel on policy matters. So I think we're pretty sympathetic on the issues that matter today.’’
Romney still enjoys a fragile front-runner status for the Republican nomination after the Republican debate on Tuesday night. Romney received a key boost on Tuesday afternoon when he received the endorsement from Christie, who has emerged as a GOP star.Story: Cain and '9-9-9' plan seize spotlight at debate
“He's the best person for the job,’’ Christie told Gangel. “It's simply on the merits. And the fact is that we need to make sure that Barack Obama's a one-term president for America's future. There's no question in my mind that Gov. Romney's the person who gives us the best chance of winning back the White House in November 2012. And I want to do everything I can to help him.’’
“(Christie) is an extraordinary person, and I'm delighted I have him on my team,’’ Romney said.
Their close relationship may be the stuff of “Saturday Night Live" spoofs, but Christie said he believes Romney has what it takes to unseat President Obama.
“The fact is Gov. Romney is going to earn it, and he wouldn't want it any other way,’’ Christie said. “He’s going to win. I wouldn’t be with him if he wasn’t going to win.’’Video: Analysis: Romney’s frontrunner status solidified (on this page)
On Tuesday, Romney’s camp challenged Perry to renounce comments made by a Texas pastor and Perry supporter who called Romney’s Mormon religion a “cult.’’ Perry has recently sunk behind Cain in primary polls.
“I've heard worse during my life,’’ Romney told Gangel. “I don't get real nervous about what people say. I think this pastor could say something like that in his church, but in a political setting, I think that's a mistake. The founders felt the same way when they crafted the Constitution and said there would not be a religious test in our Constitution.’’
“It has no business in a serious debate about who's going be President of the United States, in my opinion,’’ Christie said. “The fact is that these folks should be judged on the basis of their record and their character and their integrity. That's what we should be doing in judging who should be President of the United States and who shouldn't, not what religion they practice. I think it's unsettling that anyone would associate themselves with those kind of comments.’’Video: Biden: GOP has ‘no intention’ to pass anything
In response to Christie’s endorsement of Romney, an important symbolic gesture given the tight race, Perry's camp released a statement.
“Gov. Perry has the utmost respect for Gov. Christie and looks forward to his help unseating President Obama next year," communications director Ray Sullivan said. "Until then, Gov. Perry will continue traveling the country talking about job creation and getting America working again."
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