When it comes to presidential campaigns, it seems almost no one was as supportive of Mitt Romney for president than Gov. Chris Christie.
The Republican governor spent the past year crisscrossing the country to stump for Romney, a Republican. President Barack Obama defeated Romney in Tuesday’s election, and many have mentioned Christie as a possible presidential contender for 2016.
One might think Christie was the first politician to stand up for Romney, given a claim that Christie repeated Wednesday during a press conference in Harvey Cedars. While there to discuss preparations for a nor’easter about to hit the state, Christie answered a question about praising Obama’s response in helping New Jersey in the wake Hurricane Sandy. Christie also dismissed questions about his loyalty to Romney after the widely publicized image of his extended handshake with Obama during the president’s Oct. 31 visit to tour hurricane damage along the Jersey Shore.
"I’m a guy who tells the truth, all the time. And if the president of the United States did something good, I was going to say he did something good and give him credit for it," Christie said, according to a Nov. 7 story on the New York Post’s website.
"But it doesn’t take away for a minute the fact that I was the first governor in America to endorse Mitt Romney, that I traveled literally tens of thousands of miles for him, raised tens of millions of dollars for him and worked harder, I think, than any other surrogate in America other than Paul Ryan," he continued.
Christie’s "a guy who tells the truth, all the time"? Not quite.
For this fact check we’re focusing on the claim that Christie was the first governor in the country to endorse Romney because he’s made the claim several times and received a False on the Truth-O-Meter for it. And this isn’t the first time, either, that Christie has repeated claims proven false.
Let’s go back to Aug. 28, when Christie said on "CBS this Morning" about Romney that "I’ve spent since October of last year -- first governor in America to endorse him -- (running) around the country to 15 different states campaigning for him and raising money."
We determined in a September fact-check that Christie was one of the first Republican governors to endorse Romney, but he wasn’t the first.
After announcing he wouldn’t make a presidential run himself, Christie traveled to New Hampshire and endorsed Romney on Oct. 11, 2011. But a couple of other governors threw their support behind Romney first.
The Romney campaign announced Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman’s endorsement in a June 10, 2011 news release posted on its website.
On July 2, an article on the Washington Post’s website said, "Romney has been endorsed by two governors, Dave Heineman of Nebraska and Butch Otter of Idaho, as well as one former governor, Colorado’s Bill Owens."
A Politico article on July 16, 2011 pointed out how only a few governors -- including Heineman and Otter -- had given endorsements in the GOP presidential primary race.
A Dec. 1 article in the New York Times stated that Heineman was identified as "the first governor to endorse Mr. Romney."
So while Christie’s support for Romney is clear, it’s also clear that he was not the first governor to endorse him for president.
Christie spokesmen Michael Drewniak and Kevin Roberts did not respond to a request for comment.
Christie was one of the most ardent supporters of Romney for president and stated several times in recent months that "I was the first governor in America to endorse Mitt Romney."
The Truth-O-Meter gave the governor a False on this claim in September, noting that Heineman was the first, followed by Otter, to endorse Romney.
Consistently supporting a candidate for president is one thing. But consistently repeating a false claim about being the first governor in the country to endorse that candidate is ridiculous. Pants on Fire, governor!
To comment on this story, go to NJ.com.