Christie, Romney to meet for dinner Friday night
(CNN)Gov. Chris Christie and Mitt Romney will have dinner Friday night in New York City, just hours after Romney announced he won’t be seeking a third run for president.
According to a source familiar with the dinner, their wives may also attend. The two men are friends. “Real friends, not political friends,” as Christie has previously said.
The source warned against expecting Romney to endorse anyone in the near future, or perhaps at all, saying the 2012 GOP nominee will be out helping the party, but not necessarily for any one 2016 candidate.
Romney is in New York Friday to attend a private lunch event for the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Christie was vetted in 2012 to be Romney’s potential running mate, but it was later made public in the book “Double Down” that concerns came up during the vetting process about Christie’s health and weight, as well as a controversy involving Christie’s time as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey.
Romney aides and supporters also came to resent Christie after he teamed up with President Barack Obama a week before the election to survey damage in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy. Critics argued that Christie’s praise of Obama at the time elevated the president just days before voters headed to the polls.
Romney later said he had no bad feelings against Christie about the episode. “You have to look at Chris and say this is a guy who’s been a very effective governor and has a great potential for leadership,” Romney told CNN’s Gloria Borger in 2013.
About a year ago, when being pressed about a third run for president, Romney instead pointed to Christie and other Republicans as potentially strong GOP nominees.
“I want to make sure that we take the country in a different direction. I think that Chris Christie and Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and the list goes on, have a much better chance of doing that, and so I will support one of them as they become the nominee,” Romney told the New York Times.
It was one of many times Romney praised the New Jersey governor last year.
Romney appeared as a special guest at Christie’s birthday fundraiser in New Jersey last September. They shared the same stage at an event that in many ways appeared to foreshadow a potential campaign event if Christie were to run for president, complete with a highly complimentary introduction by Romney, an American flag as a backdrop, and an excited audience.
“This is a guy who cares about the people in this great state, he cares about the poor, he cares about the middle class. He cares about getting good jobs,” Romney said. “This is a guy who fights for the things he believes in.”
The love-fest continued when Christie was at the podium.
“Wouldn’t our country be a hell of a better place if this man were the President of the United States?” Christie roared.