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Romney: Christie ‘Leading Figure’ In Republican Party

Former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney speaks after being endorsed by NJ Governor Chris Christie on October 11, 2011 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney speaks after being endorsed by NJ Governor Chris Christie on October 11, 2011 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would be on anybody’s short list for a vice presidential running mate, calling Christie an “extraordinary person” and “one of the leading figures in the Republican party.”

The two appeared together on NBC’s “Today” show and pointedly didn’t reject running mate rumors the day after Christie handed Romney his endorsement.

Christie endorsed Romney on Tuesday in New Hampshire and minced no words about why.

“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,” Christie said.

The governor said it didn’t take him long to pick a candidate to endorse.

“It’s been really in the end, an easy decision for me,” Christie said. “I know that America needs a new course and I wanted to be with the person I believe who I believe will be the best person to lead America on that course and that’s Gov. Mitt Romney.”

After blasting the president as a “can’t do” candidate, Christie anointed Romney as the “can do” candidate.

“I know that Mitt Romney believes that the American pie can be grown bigger that it can be an infinite size because of the nature of American ingenuity and effort and character,” Christie said.

Christie’s endorsement came just a week after he took himself out of contention.

When asked Wednesday morning if Christie would make a good match for a ticket with him, Romney said the two are great friends who agree on a host of issues.

Christie says he hasn’t been promised a spot on the ticket, or anything else, in return for his endorsement.

Meanwhile, a new poll shows Christie is more popular than ever at home.

The Quinnipiac University Poll out Wednesday shows Christie with a 58 percent job approval rating — his highest ever in the poll.

While a majority of voters polled think Christie could have won if he ran for president, they seem glad he didn’t, backing his decision to stay put by a margin of 8-1.

Voters also agree with Christie by a 3-1 margin that he doesn’t have the personality to be vice president.

Women are also warming to him; 51 percent approve of his performance, a 25-point swing from August.

The telephone poll of 1,186 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 5-10. It has an error margin of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Christie is set to hold a news conference on property taxes Wednesday at a home in Paramus.

Property-tax relief was a major issue in Christie’s 2009 campaign. The governor signed a law last year that caps annual property tax growth at 2 percent.

What do you think of Gov. Christie? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)