Boehner praises Christie, Daniels as 2012 contenders

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) talked up two governors — New Jersey's Chris Christie (R) and Indiana's Mitch Daniels (R) — as possible GOP presidential candidates in 2012.

The top House Republican had words of praise for both on Monday, the most Boehner has said to date about the field of candidates for the nomination.

Asked on NBC's "Today" show if he thought Christie would make a good nominee, Boehner said, "I do. I know him pretty well, he's done a great job and he speaks English."

Christie has said he won't run for president, despite many Republicans' beckoning; a group of Iowa conservatives is heading to New Jersey to meet with Christie, hoping to convince him to change his mind.

Boehner also spontaneously praised Daniels, another possible candidate favored as a dark-horse contender by many Republicans.

"I think Mitch Daniels is looking pretty seriously at this — another person who's got a real track record of reform in his state, the kinds of reforms we need to have in Washington, D.C.," Boehner said.

The Speaker has been largely coy about his thoughts on the contenders for the Republican nomination in 2012. It's likely he'll stay neutral in the primary given the stature of his position, he said Monday.

Boehner had some praise for one of his predecessors: Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who will announce his presidential candidacy on Wednesday. Boehner called Gingrich a "good friend" who "brings an awful lot to the debate."

The Speaker was less effusive about real-estate mogul Donald Trump, who's also considering a bid for the nomination.

"There are a lot of good candidates out there, Donald Trump being one of them — maybe," he said.

The Ohio Republican said he expects more Republicans to get into the race before the field is settled.

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