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 CruzTed CruzCruz: Drug lord cash can fund border wall There’s a new frontier in space exploration, but will Trump be on board? Georgia campaigns keep up pressure ahead of runoff vote 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 RubioTop Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms Rubio defends Trump: 'This whole flip-flop thing is a political thing' Rubio: Shutdown would have 'catastrophic impact' on global affairs MORE (Fla.) and his former GOP running mate, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanGeorgia campaigns keep up pressure ahead of runoff vote Meet the centrist trying to strike a deal on healthcare Five key moments from Trump's first 100 days MORE (Wis.).
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.”