The PJ Tatler

Romney: Christie 'Could Easily Become Our Nominee and Save Our Party'

Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney said Sunday that the government shutdown was not a good idea on the part of the GOP, and he threw out a few names that could get the GOP nod in 2016.

“With regards to what’s going on in Washington lately with the shutdown, if you will, to try and replace or defund Obamacare, look there’s no question that every Republican that I know of wants to see Obamacare replaced, repealed and repaired,” Romney said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“At the same time, the tactic of shutting down government is one which I thought was not a good tactic in the first place, I thought it would not be effective and it was not effective,” he added. “You heard this morning, for instance, the campaign manager of Ken Cuccinelli said that when they were talking about the shutdown, they were having a hard time, but now they’re talking about Obamacare and his campaign is doing better and better.”

“The shutdown was not the right way to go in my view, but the right way to replace Obamacare is to elect Republicans to the Senate and the House and ultimately to the White House and repair Obamacare, replace it and put in place something that’s going to do a better job for the American people and let them keep the insurance they were promised they could keep in the first place.”

Romney brushed off assertions that he didn’t work hard enough in his campaign, saying “we were all in, 110 percent, and we wanted to win very desperately.”

He said the reason New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) wasn’t tapped to be his vice presidential candidate was not because of any issues raised in vetting, but because Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) “had a complement of skills and experience that I thought would be helpful if he actually became Vice President.”

“And Chris, by the way, Chris could easily become our nominee and save our party and help get this nation on the right track again. They don’t come better than Chris Christie,” Romney added.

“Look I know that the Democrats will try and go after him if he’s our nominee in every way they can, but you can’t argue with the kind of success he’s had. He’s been a governor. He’s about to win I think on Tuesday pretty solidly and his record as governor really stands out,” he continued. “I mean New Jersey, after all, is a very blue state. 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.”

Still, Romney said he wouldn’t pick “who is the most electable and who would be the most effective candidate” at this early stage.

“But at this stage, you look at Chris Christie and say that’s a very impressive guy with a great track record, with the demonstrated ability to work across the aisle, with support of labor and blue collar voters in New Jersey. It’s a very compelling story,” he said. “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 of the Republican Party.”

When asked by host David Gregory if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stands out as “a potential light in the Republican Party,” Romney demurred.

“Look, I’m not going to disqualify anybody. But I think I’ve indicated some of the names I think are most effective in becoming elected and we’ll see where it goes,” he said.