Christie: Romney Is the Best Candidate to Beat Obama

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," October 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And there's breaking news tonight in the GOP presidential race just one week after announcing that he himself would not be seeking the office. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is officially endorsing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the job. In a joint press conference today in New Hampshire, Governor Christie called it, quote, "An easy decision."


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is the man we need to lead America and we need him now. He brings that great private sector experience and he brings the experience as governor of Massachusetts knowing how government works. Not a legislator trying to figure out how to use executive power, but an executive who's used executive power, will use it to make American lives better. That is why I'm endorsing Mitt Romney for president of the United States.


HANNITY: Now, this endorsement came just hours before tonight's Republican debate at Dartmouth College.

Joining me now, the man himself Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey, Governor, how are you?

CHRISTIE: Great, Sean. How are you?

HANNITY: All right. I understand you've got some protestors and some I guess Romney supporters, I can see the signs behind you.


HANNITY: Is this the Occupy New Hampshire now?

CHRISTIE: I'm not listening, Sean. I have really no idea. They are arguing and yelling about a lot of stuff. Free speech is alive and well here in New Hampshire.

HANNITY: All right. Let's talk about your -- first, let's talk about your decision. I mean, you really, you've said, no, no, no but people kept coming back to you. Tell us about the process. Why do you think people kept coming to you and how close did you come to maybe getting into the race?

CHRISTIE: Well, you'd have to ask them first of all, Sean. I think it was because of the record that we've developed in New Jersey. I mean, you know, two years in a row balancing over $13 billion in deficits, no increased taxes, a third less regulations on the last year of the Corzine administration. More state workers and government workers cut by percentage than any state in America in the last 20 months. I mean, we promised smaller government and lower taxes and we are delivering on that. I think that is why. I think people like the record we had in New Jersey and thought that we might be able to apply it to the rest of the country.

But as far as my decision-making process, it was always no but, you know, when you have people who are very, very serious coming to you. After a while Mary Pat and I just looked at each other said, you know, we need to give this is a serious reconsideration. We did, but I just felt my commitment to New Jersey was to serve out this term. And I need do that. I feel like I want to do that. And so, it really wasn't that hard a decision in the end.

HANNITY: You said that you spoke to some of the other candidates, you spoke to Huntsman, you spoke to Gingrich, you spoke to, basically all the candidates throughout the process, but you've been in touch often with Mitt Romney. And then you had a weekend together, last weekend. Tell us about why you chose Governor Romney.

CHRISTIE: Well, first of all because I think Governor Romney is the best candidate to beat Barack Obama next November. And we cannot have another four years of Barack Obama in the White House. And so, first I believe that is the biggest reason to support Mitt Romney.

In addition, this is a guy who's got executive experience in both the private sector and the public sector. He knows how to use government authority as a governor, he also knows how to turn things around as a guy in the executive positions in business. And lastly, I believe in the governor's integrity. We had a great time to sit down and talk this past Saturday, myself and Mary Pat with Mitt and Ann and it sealed the deal for me. He is somebody who I believe can win and I believe will take our country in a different direction.

HANNITY: All right. You were asked repeatedly today about the issue of whether or not you would consider being his running mate. And you said, quote that, you know, that is not a decision that I have to think about right now. I cannot imagine it happening.

I can imagine it happening.

CHRISTIE: Well, maybe he should ask you then. You know, I don't know.

HANNITY: I mean, I can imagine happening for you.

CHRISTIE: I just can't imagine. Listen, I just can't imagine it. And the bottom line is, you don't run for something like that. The fact is that, whoever the nominee for the party is, and I believe it's going to be Governor Romney, will have the opportunity to make the choice the person he thinks will best serve him as a running mate, it best serve the country as vice president. And then ultimately, if need be, can serve as president as well. That is going to be his call to nominate a party. And, you know, what? I got a lot of things to do in New Jersey. I'm committed to doing my job in New Jersey as well as I can do it. I'm not going worry about stuff that I have no control over.

HANNITY: All right. I think you went out of your way today. This isn't an indictment against the other candidates, you just chose Governor Romney. If any of the other candidates were to emerge and were to win the nomination, will you support any of them?

CHRISTIE: Of course, absolutely.

I think you are right. Listen, I think Governor Romney is the best candidate, that the Republicans have to choose from in this cycle to be our nominee and to ultimately be the president of United States. But as I said, I've had conversations with a number of the other candidates. I have great respect for them. But in the end, I don't think this was a close call for me, I think Governor Romney is the person that can win this election. We cannot have another four years of Barack Obama, Sean. I know you know that and understand it. And I just believe that Governor Romney is the person who gives us the best chance to be able to beat Barack Obama next November.

HANNITY: He certainly has maintained his consistencies more than anybody else in the polls. Congresswoman Bachmann went up, she's kind of fallen back a little bit. Rick Perry surged and he has fallen back a little bit. Right now, Herman Cain is surging. What do you think of Herman Cain and his candidacy considering he is doing so well at this moment?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen. I think everybody has kind of had their moment in this race. And certainly, Mr. Cain brings a lot of advantages to the table given his private sector experience. So, you know, I think he is certainly a credible candidate, but I don't think he brings the breadth of experience as Governor Romney has. And I do think there is something different about running a private business and being an executive in government. That's what is so good about Mitt Romney's experience. He has that private sector executive experience and the experiences of being governor. So, he knows both the opportunities and the hurdles of executive power in a governmental position.

HANNITY: You challenged Governor Perry and Governor Perry is running a pretty hard hitting ad right now against Governor Romney who is still is, you know, obviously the front-runner based on the polls. And what happened this weekend at the Value Voters Summit when he was introduced by a pastor that referred to Mormonism as a cult immediately after introducing Governor Perry. And the Romney campaign and you in a way challenged him in your own way, Governor Perry to repudiate those remarks. Do you think he will and do you think it matters?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think when Governor Perry -- Governor Perry is a good and decent person. I think he has an opportunity to get away from his political spinmeisters and take a deep breath and think about it himself, he'll repudiate it. Because there is no place for that type of bigotry in our politics, and certainly not in presidential politics. I don't think any serious presidential campaign would support that type of language.

I mean, the fact is, we should be judging these folks on their experience and on their character and their integrity, and what religion they worship I think has nothing to do with it, Sean, as long as there's people of experience, character and integrity.

So, I think Governor Perry when he takes a deep breath, gets away from all his handlers who tell him that you can't possibly admit that someone who's supporting you did something wrong, and act like a normal regular person, he'll say, you know, what? I repudiate those comments. I believe Governor Perry will do it because I think he is a good person.

HANNITY: All right. Governor, you've been known for taking on the media and being very outspoken and being outspoken at town hall events. If the Occupy Wall Street movement, occupation, if you will, were going on in the state of New Jersey for four consecutive weeks, how would you handle it?

CHRISTIE: Well, I tell you something, Sean. It is going on in New Jersey there. We've had some of these folks in Trenton, in the state capital, we had some of them here, small group compared to what's in New York. We had some on our state capital last week.

The fact of the matter of this, Sean, you know, even if this is another example of how frustrated the American people are at the lack of leadership by Barack Obama. Fact is whether you are the far left of the spectrum or the right of the spectrum or somewhere in between, the one thing that everybody is agreeing on is, this president's economic policies are a failure.

Now I don't agree with the Occupy Wall Street folks but the fact of the matter is, their frustration and anger is about the failure of this president. And everybody can agree on that.

HANNITY: Look, 46.2 percent Americans in poverty. And I'll say it every night between now and the Election Day, America has to do better. You cannot have combined unemployment, under employment at around 18 percent because the country is suffering.

Governor, good to see you. We'll let you get inside. We appreciate your time tonight. Thanks for being with us.

CHRISTIE: Sean, I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you very much for the opportunity.

HANNITY: All right. I appreciate it.

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