LEBANON, N.H. — Moments after a hotel ballroom’s audio system finished blaring Orleans’ “Still the One” and Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ambled to a podium to endorse former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential bid.
“I could not have been more happy,” Romney said, to learn that Christie would be endorsing his campaign. “I’m delighted to have him here today.”
Christie was quick to frame the campaign as one between Romney and Barack Obama, seemingly to leapfroging the other primary candidates. “America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama,” he said. “Mitt Romney is the man America needs, and America needs him now.”
“He brings that great private sector experience and he brings experience as governor of Massachusetts — knowing how government works.”
Obama “has unleashed his campaign strategy already,” Christie added, “and that is to divide America.” But Americans, he insisted, “want to believe in American optimism instead of American division.”
“It’s been really, in the end, an easy decision for me.”
The first question Christie took asked him to address the controversy regarding a pastor who introduced Texas Gov. Rick Perry before a speech last week and referred to Mormonism as a “cult.”
He was quick to compare it to his own decision to appoint a Muslim judge in his home state of New Jersey. “These kinds of religious matters have nothing to do with someone’s ability to lead, Christie said. “And any campaign that associates itself with that kind of conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States.”
Christie also defended Romney’s health care plan. “Do not try to equate what’s going on with Obamacare” with Romney’s program in Massachusetts. “The president is raising taxes over and over again.”
Christie said attempts to link the two programs are “completely intellectually dishonest.”
Romney promised to direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant waivers from the president’s health care plan to all 50 U.S. states upon his inauguration, should he be elected.
David is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter