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.
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