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Christie: Romney loss in Michigan could mean contested convention

February 26, 2012|By Kim Geiger
(CBS )

Reporting from Washington — If Mitt Romney loses the Michigan primary on Tuesday, it could stretch the Republican presidential campaign all the way to the nominating convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Romney backer, told CBS’ Bob Schieffer on Sunday.

“Sure, that’s a possibility,” Christie said. “I still don’t think it’s a likelihood, though.”

“This is going to go up and down,” he said, noting that there have been a host of different front-runners, including Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry, all of whom have since dropped out of the race. (Watch the full interview below.)

“We have to be patient as Republicans,” he said. “Take a deep breath and let this process work its way out.”

The electorate is “very volatile” this year, he said.

“I think our primary voters are shopping,” he said. “They want to make sure they pick the very best person to give the president the very best race, and they’re not settled on it yet.”

Christie, who is often mentioned as a possible contender if Republicans reject the field of current candidates -- though he has repeatedly insisted he is not interested in running for president -- waved away talk of joining the ticket as Romney’s vice presidential choice, if the former Massachusetts governor were to win the nomination.

“If Gov. Romney were to come and talk to me about it, I’d listen because I love my party enough and I love my country enough to listen,” Christie said. “But I love being governor of New Jersey. ... If you’re betting, bet on my being governor of New Jersey into next year.”

Christie accused Rick Santorum of “naked opportunism,” for his remarks on the campaign trail questioning Romney’s sincerity as a conservative and blamed the former Pennsylvania senator for forcing social issues into the spotlight.

He dismissed Santorum’s candidacy -- “he’s not going to be the nominee” --  and the notion that infighting between the candidates during the primary season would hurt the eventual nominee’s chances in the general election.

“They said women were never going to vote for Barack Obama after the way he treated Hillary Clinton in that race,” Christie said. “Plenty of women voted for Barack Obama in 2008.”

kim.geiger@latimes.com

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