However, a Reuters/Ipsos online poll on Friday showed Christie as the Republican with the best rating against possible 2016 Democratic opponents former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Vice President Joe Biden.
Speaking a few hours before Romney, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, centered his remarks on the federal budget and made no mention of his former running mate.
In the aftermath of the last campaign, Republicans have set about refashioning their image, moving away from Romney’s campaign positions.
Romney’s campaign was marked by a hawkish view on immigration and was hindered by his remarks in secretly recorded video deploring nearly half of all Americans as “victims.”
Now, Republican congresspeople are playing leading roles in trying to reform immigration laws and leaders are encouraging reaching out to African-American and Hispanic voters, two groups that backed Obama by wide margins.
Influential Republicans like Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal have called on their party to embrace the people Romney appeared to reject in his infamous “47 percent” remarks about voters who receive government aid.
Despite his downfall, Romney was undeterred.
“It’s fashionable in some circles to be pessimistic about America, about conservative solutions, about the Republican Party,” Romney said. “I utterly reject that pessimism.”