TAMPA, Fla. — The day after he delivered the keynote address to the Republican National Convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie regaled members of Utah's delegation with his views on the presidential race.
Christie received rave reviews from the Utah delegates for his half-hour brunch speech that was closed to the media. He was greeted with thunderous applause and his remarks drew frequent laughter.
"I don't think it was my choice," a gruff Christie told reporters when asked why they couldn't hear what he had to say.
Utah GOP officials blamed the closed doors at the event held in the hotel where the Utah delegation is staying on a "miscommunication between Gov. Christie's office and the person coordinating it."
Gov. Gary Herbert, who arranged for the often controversial governor to spend time with the Utah delegation, said he didn't know what happened.
"I don't know the reason for not having the press in," Herbert said. "I think there's been a miscommunication, frankly, between our party and Chris Christie's folks and maybe the (Mitt) Romney campaign because I actually thought you'd be in."
The event was supposed to showcase the relationship between Herbert and Christie, who briefly considered his own run for the White House and was seen as a possible vice-presidential pick by Romney.
Christie is the headliner at Herbert's annual "Governor's Gala" fundraiser next month and is expected to help the governor's re-election campaign top the $1 million-plus collected at last year's gala.
Herbert said Christie urged Utahns to get out the vote for Romney outside of the state.
"His most powerful message is, 'You know Mitt Romney in Utah. A lot of us have not known him as well,'" Herbert said. "Because of that, he called upon us in Utah to get outside of Utah. He said, 'I know he's going to win the election in Utah. But you need to call your friends … and see where you can actually extend your reach beyond Utah.'"