01/18/2014 01:45 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Mitt Romney Defends Chris Christie: He Handled Bridge Scandal 'In A Very Effective Way'


Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney came out in support of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), praising his handling of the fallout surrounding the George Washington Bridge scandal.

In an interview with the Washington Post published Saturday, Romney revealed that he has talked with Christie since the events unfolded, saying in one instance that “he must be frightening a lot of people because they’re giving it a lot of attention.” The former Massachusetts governor added that Christie's potential 2016 ambitions are “not hurt by the controversy.”

“I think Chris has handled this in a very effective way,” Romney told the Post. “A member of his administration did something that he was unaware of and that he found reprehensible. He faced the American people for two hours, took their questions. He dismissed people who were responsible. He took personal responsibility. That’s what a leader does.”

Romney's remarks represented a stark contrast from the opinions of some of his biggest supporters. As Christie wades his way through Florida for a series of fundraisers, one big GOP bundler did not hold back on how he feels about the governor.

In an interview with the Miami Herald, top Romney fundraiser Brian Ballard spoke out against Christie, saying that "the guy, as a person, is horrific." Ballard also expressed his belief that Christie's mingling with President Barack Obama during the final weeks of the election had an effect on the overall picture.

"I busted my ass for two years raising money and supporting Romney and this guy Christie just wiped his hands of us when we were no longer useful to him," Ballard told the Herald.

Christie was one of the first Republicans to endorse Romney's 2012 presidential bid, backing him in October 2011 in New Hampshire. Christie ended up delivering the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, but did not emerge as the choice off Romney's short list of possible vice presidential nominees.



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