(PARSIPPANY, N.J.) — While GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich participated in a Lincoln-Douglas debate with Jon Huntsman in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney had already slipped out of the Granite State after a day of campaigning and into the arms of some very generous supporters.
As much as $1.1 million was reportedly raised at a much-anticipated fundraiser Monday evening in Parsippany, N.J., which was hosted by N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, who endorsed Romney in October.
“Welcome to Morris County. Welcome to New Jersey. And New Jersey tonight is officially Mitt Romney country,” Christie said, introducing Romney Monday evening.
“As you’ve watched Gov. Romney perform over the last number of months in the many debates that our Republican presidential candidates have participated in, the things that are constant in Gov. Romney’s performances are things that will be constants in his presidency,” Christie said, according to reports from the event.
Christie said Romney has the “integrity of his principles.”
Romney also spoke to the crowd of about 500, joking that New Jersey must have a problem with border security as he noticed New Yorkers in the crowd (Romney makes a similar joke when he sees residents from Massachusetts at events in New Hampshire).
“There are more Republicans here than my whole state,” Romney told the crowd, before heaping praise on Christie.
“This guy’s just amazing. The whole nation’s watching this guy,” Romney said.
And they are: When Christie traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, last week on behalf of the former Massachusetts governor he could not escape questions about his own desire to run for president.
Even earlier Monday, at a diner in Manchester, the town’s mayor, Ted Gatsas, asked Romney to bring Christie out on the trail in New Hampshire.
Gatsas joked that Christie makes him look “dwarfed,” which is one reason he’d like to campaign next to him.
“He’s better than a diet!” Romney roared.
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