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 CruzWalker jabs at Kasich for snubbing GOP convention Trump: Cruz is 'lucky' that I walked in on his speech Kasich leaves door open to Trump endorsement 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 RubioBudowsky: Why Warren masters Trump Meghan McCain: ‘I no longer recognize my party’ Five ways Trump’s convention was a success MORE (Fla.) and his former GOP running mate, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanClinton maps out first 100 days Why a bill about catfish will show whether Ryan's serious about regulatory reform Trump is right about one thing 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.”