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Chris Christie Endorsing Mitt Romney

In a move sure to make conservative heads explode, Chris Christie is set to endorse Mitt Romney for president.

Chris Cillizza, WaPo (“Chris Christie to endorse Mitt Romney“):

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will endorse former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney today, two sources familiar with the situation confirmed to the Fix.

The endorsement will come later this afternoon, according to the sources, just hours before the presidential candidates gather in Hanover, New Hampshire for the seventh debate of the GOP nomination fight.

Sources close to the process said that Romney’s courtship of Christie was a long one but refused to get into details. Christie is expected to address those matters at his press event announcing the endorsement.

Christie’s backing should provide a major boost to Romney who has been making the case for weeks that he is the best — and perhaps only — candidate who can beat President Obama in 2012.

Christie, a favorite of tea party and establishment types alike, has emphasized the need for the GOP to nominate someone not who they agree with on every issue but rather someone who can win.

Oddly, in early 2008, I most of the social conservatives were fawning over Romney, seeing him as the “real conservative” alternative to the RINO John McCain. Now that Romney is in the same position as McCin was then, he’s seen as the RINO for whom an “Anybody But Mitt” candidate of the week is being seen as an alternative. Will Christie be able to reassure them?

Christie is, rather obviously from my vantagepoint, not a Movement Conservative ideologue. Indeed, he can barely hide his contempt for large swaths of the base. Yet, they love him. We’ll see if this endorsement changes that or changes their perception of Romney.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure endorsements matter that much. But this is an interesting signal nonetheless.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. What’s interesting is the timing of all this, just a week after Christie finally once again shut down the speculation about his own bid for the nomination. It has always been pretty obvious that if Christie was going to endorse, Mitt Romney would be his guy. I suppose that Jon Huntsman might have had a shot if he were doing better in the polls, but there really isn’t anyone else in the field that really fits in with Christie.

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  2. Hey Norm says:

    If nothing else it positions Christie as a moderate in the eyes of moderate Republicans and Independents.

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  3. jan says:

    Christie is a moderate who is also ‘beloved’ by many conservatives, mainly for his straight forwardness. This makes him an interesting mix of political flavors. He also seems to be liked by Mrs. Reagan, who, if she endorses who he endorses will be huge feathers in Romney’s cap.

    Anyway, this is quite a positive turn of events for Romney, coming on what is viewed as a pivotal debate tonight. It’s as if Romney is calling in his chips to close the deal — debating in a state he far ahead in, having Christie’s endorsement coming in today too. Now, if he aces the debate and/or Perry implodes, like qawkers on the side are anticipating, he will definitely be deemed the frontrunner.

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  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    You have to wonder what this says about the internal (non-media) polling. If Romney already has the nomination locked up this could be Christie’s way of getting to the head of the line for Veep. It also suggests Perry might really be toast. Christie doesn’t strike me as someone who leaves things to chance. If the Romney-Perry contest still was up for grabs why would Christie take this risk?

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  5. @Tsar Nicholas:

    I think it is more likely that this is part of the well-known strategy among candidates of making their victory seem inevitable.

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  6. jan says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    If the Romney-Perry contest still was up for grabs why would Christie take this risk?

    There are a number of reasons, one of which could be that Christie might not like Perry. Also, like you indicated this could give Christie a VP edge with Romney — what a ticket that would be!

    Lastly, more and more people are looking at Perry as a bright flame that lost it’s glow. He has dropped almost as fast as Bachmann did, as the far right are now beating a path over to Cain.

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  7. Davebo says:

    I think it is more likely that this is part of the well-known strategy among candidates of making their victory seem inevitable.

    So the Tea Party has just been useful fools all along?

    Will they settle for that?

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  8. Tlaloc says:

    Christie will now inevitably be seen as a traitor to the cause by many of the same people who were recently praising him as a conservative titan (no fat joke intended)

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  9. Hey Norm says:

    I can hardly see Christie…with Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush and Bill Kristol and who knows who else begging him to run for President…settling for VP to Romney. Doesn’t even pass the giggle test.
    But we are talking about the party that nominated Sarah Palin VP so anything is possible I suppose.

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  10. michael reynolds says:

    It’s almost painful to watch Romney. He’s like the ugliest girl at the sock hop. Republicans will do anything to avoid dancing with him. It’s humiliating. Republicans will even pretend to support the black guy rather than accept Romney.

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  11. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Republicans will even pretend to support the black guy rather than accept Romney.

    Oh, you must mean ‘Herman Cain.’ Sounding a little racist there, Michael.

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  12. Wayne says:

    You have the Republican establishment and you have Republicans. Most Republicans didn’t care much for any of the top tier candidates in 2008. Romney received 22% which is roughly what he is receiving now. In 2010 many Republican bucked the Republican establishment and went for non establishment candidates. IMO 2012 will be even more so. Time will tell.

    Michael Reynolds did make a racist statement.

    I support Cain because of who he is and his ideas not because he is black. The idea of Republicans must accept\settle for Romney because the establishment and left wants him doesn’t fly.

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  13. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:
    It’s fun when members of the GOP accuse me of being a racist for suggesting their party is the home of racists. It’s so convincing.

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  14. sam says:

    “In a move sure to make conservative heads explode, Chris Christie is set to endorse Mitt Romney for president.” and to make those of us not nutz, yawn. I mean, who the hell else was he going to back? (Well, maybe Huntsman. )

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  15. sam says:

    @jan:

    Lastly, more and more people are looking at Perry as a bright flame that lost it’s glow.

    More likely as a dim bulb that gets dimmer as the night goes on.

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