Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday listed four Republicans who could win the presidency in 2016 — leaving out two notable exceptions in Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Finance: GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few ready to vote against it Anti-gay marriage county clerk Kim Davis to seek reelection in Kentucky MORE (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Romney said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) stands out as one of the brightest lights in the GOP, but also listed Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Cornyn: Senate GOP tax plan to be released Thursday This week: GOP seeks to advance tax overhaul MORE (Fla.) and his former GOP running mate, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat 'a referendum' on Trump administration After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Pence: Praying 'takes nothing away' from trying to figure out causes behind mass shooting MORE (Wis.).

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“I mean there is a long list of very capable people, but Chris Christie stands out as one of the very strongest lights in the Republican Party,” Romney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

Despite concerns Romney’s vice presidential vetting team had with Christie’s background, detailed in the forthcoming book, “Double Down," Romney said those issues were largely aired during Christie's first gubernatorial election. 

Romney said Christie has popularity in and out of the Republican Party, something important in a presidential election. 

“Well, I think it is kind of early to say who is the most electable and who will be the most effective. But at this stage, you look at Chris Christie and say 'that is a very impressive guy with a great track record with the demonstrated ability to work across the aisle with the support of labor and blue collar voters in New Jersey.' It is a pretty compelling story,” Romney said.

When asked about Cruz as a potential candidate, Romney said he is not ruling anyone out but made it clear who his first choices would be. 

“Look I’m not going to disqualify anybody, but I think I have indicated some of the names I think are most effective in becoming elected and we’ll see where it goes,” he said. 

Romney said Hillary Clinton — the Democrats’ early favorite for the nomination — would have to run partly on President Obama’s first term. And the election will be a time to really see what she accomplished as secretary of State. Romney noted anyone “can be beat.”