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Chris Christie Lashes Out At Rick Perry Over Pastor's Mormonism Comments (VIDEO)

First Posted: 10/11/11 10:39 PM ET Updated: 12/11/11 05:12 AM ET

Hours after endorsing Mitt Romney as the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came out firing against one of his key opponents.

In a Tuesday night interview on Hannity, Christie condemned recent comments by Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Perry-backer and Pastor, regarding Romney's Mormon faith.

“I think Governor Perry is a good and decent person," Christie told host Sean Hannity. "I think he has an opportunity to get away from his political spin misters take a deep breath and think about it and he’ll repudiate it. There is no place for that type of bigotry in our politics and certainly not presidential politics.”

The saga stems from last Saturday's Values Voter Summit, where Perry was introduced by Jeffress. HuffPost's Jon Ward detailed how the Texas pastor hinted that Romney's religion would impact his 2012 run.

"In a few months, when the smoke has cleared, those of us who are evangelical Christians are going to have a choice to make," Jeffress said. "Do we want a candidate who is skilled in rhetoric, or one who is skilled in leadership? Do we want a candidate who is a conservative out of convenience, or one who is conservative out of deep conviction? Do we want a candidate who is a good moral person, or do we want a candidate who is a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ?"

After Perry delivered his speech, another reporter captured Jeffress referring to the Mormon church as "a cult". That remark drove the Perry campaign to distance itself from the comment, with a spokesman telling HuffPost that "the governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult".

That response did not stop Romney from revealing his distaste for Jeffress' comments and Perry's follow-up. After Christie's announcement, he called on Perry to "repudiate" the Texas pastor's remarks:

"Gov. Perry selected an individual to introduce him who then used religion as a basis for which he said he would endorse Gov. Perry and a reason to not support me, and Gov. Perry then said that introduction was just hit out of the park. I just don't believe that that kind of divisiveness based on religion has a place in this country."

Fresh off Tuesday's endorsement, Christie also addressed the possibility of joining Romney as his 2012 vice-presidential running mate. He told Hannity that decision rests in the hands of the former Massachusetts governor himself.

"The fact is whoever the nominee of our party is and I believe it’s going to be Governor Romney will have the opportunity to make the choice of the person he thinks will best serve him as a running mate and best serve the country as a Vice President and then ultimately if need be, can serve as president as well," Christie said. "That’s going to be his call as the nominee of the party … I’m not going to worry about stuff that I have no control over.”
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Filed by Chris Gentilviso  |