Aug. 28, 2012 at 8:38 AM ET
Chris Christie believes if Mitt Romney could re-do his recent recent birth certificate joke, he'd take it back.
Romney made a reference to the "birther" debate — the movement that questions President Obama’s citizenship — on Friday in Michigan, when he told a crowd at his birthplace, "no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate."
“I think if he had to do it over again, he wouldn’t make the joke,’’ Christie told Matt Lauer on TODAY Tuesday. “But you know what, when you’re on camera 12, 14 hours a day, and you’re at a big rallies and you’re just going off the cuff, there are going to be times you’re going to say stuff you wish you could take back. If you get a chance to talk to Governor Romney, I think he’d tell you that he wishes he could take that one back.’’
Christie, speaking to Lauer in advance of his keynote address from the Republican National Convention floor in Tampa, also denied a report in The New York Post on Monday that he does not believe Romney can win the election. The report suggested that the New Jersey governor avoided what he thought was a losing campaign that might tarnish his own bid for the presidency in 2016.
“It’s just complete garbage,’’ Christie said. “The two reporters that wrote the story know me and have my phone number and neither of them ever called me to ask me about the story, to verify or debunk it. They just wanted to put something on the front page on the day (the convention) was cancelled. So I’m telling you categorically, absolutely untrue.
“I’ve been working hard for Mitt Romney for nearly a year, traveling to 15 states across the country. I absolutely believe he can win and will win.’’
Pressure for Romney to reveal more tax return information continues to mount, even from some conservatives. Christie said he has no such problem.
“Here’s the good news: I don’t have enough money to send to tax havens, so I never had to confront that issue,’’ Christie quipped. “My general rule is to not answer hypotheticals. I hope someday to have enough money to go to tax havens, but I don’t have it now.’’
Christie said in a recent speech that “you can’t lead by being a mystery, you can’t lead by being an enigma,’’ but denied that he was referring to Romney’s unwillingness to disclose more of his personal financial information.
“I don’t think he’s been a mystery and an enigma in terms of what he stands for and what he believes,’’ Christie said. “I think you can always look back in retrospect and maybe say ‘I would’ve done this or that differently,' but in the end do I think any American voter is going to say, ‘I’m not voting for him?’ No. I think they’re much more concerned about mounting debt and deficit and the other issues we’re talking about, (like) joblessness, and those are things that are going to decide this election.’’
As for Christie’s own presidential hopes down the road, he was noncommittal.
“I think Mitt Romney will be at the next convention in 2016 being re-nominated for his second term,’’ he said. “Then you’re talking about 2020 — long, long way away.’’