After running into a buzz saw of criticism from conservatives, Mitt Romney's 2012 bid for the Republican presidential nomination got a boost from the man many conservatives want in the race.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a star among conservatives, blessed the former Massachusetts governor's Thursday speech on healthcare, saying it fit the tone of a "serious presidential candidate."
Christie's statement gives Romney some significant cover for the speech, in which the former Massachusetts governor refused to disavow the healthcare reform law he signed during his time in office. The Massachusetts healthcare law in some ways resembles the one President Obama signed and that Republicans have vowed to repeal.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), whose political organization overlaps substantially with Romney's, also praised the speech, which he delivered at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Romney has courted Christie for his support, which is coveted by any number of the Republican presidential candidates, who have almost all reached out the New Jersey governor.
In perhaps a sign of just how important Christie's endorsement would be, his office was also forced on Friday to knock down a CBS report indicating that he'd planned to endorse Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) if Daniels were to enter the race.
Christie has said repeatedly that he will not run for president in 2012.