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 CruzLewandowski: Top Cruz aide advised Trump team before NH primary Five reasons why Donald Trump could be the 'Greatest Communicator' Victims of Nazi Art theft need Congress to HEAR 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 RubioThe ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Graham to roll out extension of Obama immigration program Trump and Cuba: A murky future MORE (Fla.) and his former GOP running mate, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanRepublicans raise red flags about ObamaCare repeal strategy Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal Ryan on Trump: 'We're not looking back' 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.”