New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a strong backer of Mitt Romney's presidential bid who raised eyebrows praising President Barack Obama's disaster response after Superstorm Sandy hit his state, said Wednesday he was "extraordinarily disappointed" by Romney's Tuesday night loss and that he's "not thinking about" his own political future.
At a press conference in Harvey Cedars, the normally-outspoken Christie was blunt on Romney's chief failing: "He didn't get enough votes."
"I've lost elections," he said. "And I know how it feels and it hurts, and I've never run for president so I can't imagine after putting in the kind of effort that Governor Romney's put in over the years to run for president, how badly it hurts this morning for him to have come up short. So I have great respect for him. I consider him a good, good friend. I hope that he continues to be a voice in public life in our country because I think he's a good and decent man."
Romney conceded his second White House run to Obama early Wednesday morning, saying "this is a time of great challenges for America and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation."
Christie campaigned over a series of months for Romney, who he endorsed while others sifted through the then-crowded GOP field and after insisting he would not seek the presidency himself this cycle. He was thought to be on Romney's vice presidential shortlist and delivered the Republican National Convention keynote address.
But he stirred conversation with his more recent praise for Obama in the wake of Sandy. When the president visited the Garden State to tour the damage, Christie said he "cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and the people of our state." Romney praised Christie's handling of the storm and his campaign said the Obama-Christie meeting should not be seen through a political lens.
"I wouldn't call what I did an embrace of Barack Obama," Christie said when asked at the press conference about the moment. "That's become the wording of it but the fact of the matter is, I'm a guy who tells the truth all the time, and if the president of the United States does something good, I'm going to say he did something good and give him credit for it."
The governor said the moment in no way suggested a souring on Romney. "I traveled literally tens of thousands of miles for him, raised tens of millions of dollars for him, and worked harder I think than any other surrogate in America -- other than [Wisconsin Republican Rep.] Paul Ryan, who became his running mate," Christie said.
With the 2012 presidential race in the bag, political chatter no doubt will turn to speculation about the 2016 campaign, where Christie's name would appear alongside a number of others. Christie did not deny interest in the position, but said at this point, he is focused on his current job.
"I want to get through this storm today, ok?" he responded to a reporter's question. "Politics becomes a lot smaller when you're dealing with life and death issues, it just does. I can be as consumed as anybody by the day to day back and forth and engage in it, but not when this stuff is going on.
"When this stuff is going on, you have a job to do," he continued. "People have given you a job the most important job in the state in my opinion. That's what I'm focused on, so I'm honored to be the governor of New Jersey. Any other honors that come in my life, if they come in due course, they come in due course, otherwise I'm not worried about it and I guarantee you one thing, I'm not thinking about it today."