Hmmm: Christie hosts Romney for dinner at NJ governor’s mansion

I know what you’re thinking, but c’mon. A Massachusetts/New Jersey ticket — on the Republican side?

Gov. Chris Christie hosted a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday night, sitting down with Mitt Romney for dinner at the governor’s mansion.

Nearly two dozen people, including some of Christie’s top political advisers and party leaders, gathered for the meeting with the former Massachusetts governor at Drumthwacket, according to three sources.

The sources described the dinner as an informal discussion without any specific talk of endorsements in New Jersey’s Republican presidential primary, which is still a year away. Romney has been laying the groundwork for a second presidential campaign, although he has not yet formally announced his candidacy.

Could just be a friendly “how are ya?”, but in that case why’s it being leaked to papers by anonymous sources? And, er, why are there two dozen people there? On the other hand, if this is about an endorsement, I’m not sure how the mechanics of that would work given Christie’s apparent designs on the VP slot. If he endorses Mitt, who almost certainly will look south and more conservative for a VP if he’s nominated, then Christie’s presumably out of the running as a potential veep for Huckabee, Barbour, Thune, Daniels, etc. In fact, according to PPP’s latest, Romney’s surprisingly weak against Huck in New Jersey despite the fact that his northeastern pedigree and reputation as a moderate should give him an advantage in a blue state. They’re tied at 18 percent, with Palin close behind at 14. Why would Christie throw in with him early under those circumstances?

An alternative to the VP scenario: Remember that Christie was a U.S. Attorney before running for governor, so if he backed Romney early and Mitt ended up winning, Attorney General (or maybe Homeland Security) might be on the table. Exit question: Would endorsing Mitt help Romney more than it hurts Christie? Romney wants Christie’s endorsement, obviously, because he’s momentarily a grassroots rock star and Mitt would need all the vicarious cred he can get among the base if he’s nominated. But I’m not so sure Christie’s rock star status is secure; he’s made a series of unorthodox moves towards the center starting with his endorsement of Mike Castle and cautious support for some sort of path to citizenship for illegals on through his cameo at Hu’s state dinner. There’s already been some criticism of him on talk radio, in fact. Will his endorsement still be worth what it’s worth now in, say, nine months?