Christie brings out the state GOP for Romney

Gov. Chris Christie tonight declared New Jersey “Mitt Romney country ” as the New Jersey governor helped raise more than $1 million for the GOP presiedntial hopeful.

Christie appeared with Romney and a host of Republican luminaries at the Hilton in Parsippany where the state politicos threw their support behind the former governor of Massachusetts.

“I am thrilled to have all of you tonight in support of the person who I believe is the best qualified man to be president of the United States, and the only man who can send Barack Obama back to Illinois,” Christie told the crowd of about 500. “Behind you represents 100% of all of the Republican county chairs tonight endorsing Mitt Romney.”

Christie endorsed Romney in October, days after nixing his own presidential aspirations. Monday, he added the support of all 21 Republican County Chairmen, along with 37 of the state’s 42 state committee representatives, 14 of 16 Republican state Senators and 27 of 33 GOP Assembly members.

“Gov. Romney, it took 11 months, but here we are, and we are with you – all of us here in New Jersey,” Christie said.

Republicans throughout the state have waited for the word from Christie before endorsing in the presidential contest.  The governor was not subtle in his message to his party and coerced, cajoled and corraled the GOP faithful into supporting his man.  Most followed, but a few, including Sen. Michael Doherty, who earlier this year endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, have bucked the governor.  

Monday, Romney was grateful for the support.

“There are more Republicans here than my whole state,” Romney quipped.

Romney told the gathered crowd of his upbringing in Michigan and of family trips to the country’s national parks, where Romney said, his parents taught him to love America.  Romney said the country needs a leader that recognizes the country’s strengths and not one that is willing to “turn towards Europe.”

“There are those on one side who want to turn us into an entitlement society,” Romney told the crowd. “Right now as we have a choice do we follow Europe or do we follow America. I don’t think Europe is working in Europe. It’s not going to work here. The right answer is to believe in America and believe in the principles that made us the hope of the earth.”

Romney had been the frontrunner in a field that has so far failed to grab the attention of the Republican electorate.  Recently, that staus has been challenged by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who holds leads in several state polls, including states where three of the first four primaries will be held.

This report was taken from pool coverage of the event Christie brings out the state GOP for Romney