A year after the 2012 election, Romney talks 2016
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney dismissed reports that he passed over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as his running mate because of Christie's weight.
On NBC's "Meet the Press," the former Massachusetts governor told David Gregory that Christie's size and health had nothing to do with his not being picked for the GOP ticket.
"With regards to his health, he provided his records to us. His health is very solid, very good. There's not an issue there," Romney said.
The report that Romney stressed Christie's girth in his vice-presidential vetting came from the soon-to-be-released book, "Double Down: Game Change 2012," by reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Reports on the book say the campaign had issues with the governor's size and that even the candidate himself had a laugh at Christie's expense.
"While watching a video of Christie without his suit jacket on, Romney cackled to his aides, 'Guys! Look at that!'" according to multiple accounts of the book.
Romney ultimately decided to choose Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, as his running mate.
"The reason I chose Paul Ryan was, as I indicated before, which is Paul had a complement of experience and skills that I thought would be helpful if he'd actually been vice president. I'd been a governor. I hadn't worked in Washington. He'd been in Washington."
Still, Romney seemed pretty high Sunday on Christie's chances in 2016. He's up for re-election as governor Tuesday, a race he's expected to win easily.
It's that ease which Romney said impresses him the most about Christie, because New Jersey is a heavily Democratic state. President Barack Obama won 58% of that state's vote in 2012.
"You can't argue with the kind of success (Christie has) had," Romney said. "He's a very popular governor in a very blue state."
And Romney doesn't think Christie's success is going to be confined to the Garden State. In fact, he thinks Christie could be the savior of the GOP.
"Chris could easily become our nominee, save our party and get our country back on track again. They don't come better than Chris Cristie," Romney said.
Romney also mentioned a few other potential GOP nominees for 2016, including Ryan, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio -- but he's not sold on one other potential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
When Gregory asked Romney if he thought Cruz would be a good candidate, there was no ringing endorsement.
"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," Romney said.
There is one race Romney is an expert on, and that's the one last year between him and Obama. Romney said he gave it all he had and has no regrets.
"I ran because I believed I was the most effective guy to be able to beat President Obama. It's not easy beating in incumbent. But I thought I was the most likely to be able to do so. And I gave everything I possibly could give to make that the reality," Romney said.