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Christie in Israel on 1st official overseas trip

Associated Press Modified: April 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm •  Published: April 2, 2012

There was "never any question about where we were coming first," Christie told Netanyahu at the start of their meeting. Later Monday, the two men were to have a private dinner with their wives.

He will travel to Jordan later this week for talks with King Abdullah II.

Christie endorsed Mitt Romney's bid for president in October, ending months of speculation over whether he would run. He hasn't said yet whether he'll seek re-election as governor next year, leaving the door open to a vice presidential bid. He is consistently rumored to be on Romney's short list.

Christie's trip, billed "Jersey to Jerusalem," is a trade and diplomacy mission, according to his office. The meeting with Netanyahu was the first in a series of talks with senior Israeli business and political leaders, including President Shimon Peres on Tuesday.

Christie's spokeswoman, Maria Comella, rejected suggestions that Christie was laying the groundwork for a run for national office, either this year or in 2016. She said it's "a common tradition for New Jersey governors to go to Israel" because of the state's economic links to Israel. She also noted New Jersey's cultural ties with Israel because of the state's large Jewish population.

Christie is traveling with his family and a delegation of 13 business and religious leaders. While in Israel, he plans to tour a pharmaceutical facility with an interest in expanding to the U.S., participate in a business round-table and visit a school.


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Associated Press writer Angela Delli Santi in Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.