TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a GOP rising star, this week hosted another party favorite and potential presidential contender _ Mitt Romney _ for dinner.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Romney, confirmed that the two had a private meeting on Monday but declined to elaborate.

The meeting was first reported by The Star-Ledger of Newark.

Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for president in 2008 and is considering a run in 2012.

Christie, who has been in office little more than a year, has become a darling of the national GOP for his budget cutting and plain speaking. He’s become a frequent guest on political talk shows and was a top attraction on the campaign trail across the country last fall.

He is frequently mentioned as a possible 2012 presidential contender. Nearly as frequently, he insists he’s not running for president or vice president _ at least not in the next election. He hasn’t ruled out a 2016 run.

Just over a dozen people attended the hours-long dinner at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion in Princeton, according to one person who was there but spoke on condition of anonymity because it was a private meeting.

There was no talk of endorsements, the attendee said, but news events were discussed. The attendee said the crowd included some of Romney’s advisers and a group of New Jersey Republican Party insiders.

State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, R-Middletown, who chaired Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign, also was the state chair for Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign. Romney lost the primary to Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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