HARVEY CEDARS, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday he is disappointed in Republican Mitt Romney's defeat and surprised how quickly the presidential race was over Tuesday night but said it's not time "to look in the rear-view mirror."
Asked whether he is now eyeing a presidential run four years from now, the nationally prominent Republican governor said: "I've got a job do here in New Jersey. This is who I am. I love this job."
Christie was the first governor to endorse Romney and raised millions for him during the campaign. He faces his own gubernatorial re-election campaign next year, but hasn't said whether he intends to seek a second term.
Christie's warm words and friendly embrace of President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the state last week angered conservatives, who wondered aloud where his loyalties were. Obama and Christie visited Atlantic City the day after the storm, which left 2.7 million customers in the state without power and numerous homes damaged or destroyed, displacing thousands. About 360,000 customers remained in the dark Wednesday.
The first-term governor has been complimentary of both the federal response to the storm and the chief executive leading it.
"I'm a guy who tells the truth all the time," Christie said Wednesday after visiting a volunteer fire department on Long Beach Island, which is still under a mandatory evacuation order. "If the president of the United States did something good, I'm going to say he did something good.
"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 than any other surrogate in America, other than Paul Ryan," Christie said.
"I'm extraordinarily disappointed," he added. "I put a lot of time and effort into the Mitt Romney campaign from last October when I went to New Hampshire until my last trip for him the Friday before the storm when I went to North Carolina."
Christie, 50, commended the president for having "a very good night last night," and said he would email his condolences to Romney on Wednesday. "He knows I am sorry it didn't work out," Christie said. "I've lost elections. I know how it feels. It hurts."
Christie said he hopes Romney continues to be a voice in American politics. He said he expects the country's 30 or so Republican governors to be the party's "idea leaders" in the years ahead, but declined to predict whether Obama's second term will see a lessening of partisan gridlock in Washington.
"The president's got decisions to make about how to conduct himself and how he'll lead," Christie said. "I hope he'll do it differently than he did it the first four years."