Chris Christie Throws His Considerable Weight Behind Mitt Romney [Updated]

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TRENTON, NJ - OCTOBER 04:  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announces his decision to forgo candidacy in the Republican primary race for president at a a news conference at the Statehouse October 4, 2011 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie said that "now is not my time" and that he felt committed to his position in New Jersey and would not abandon it.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - OCTOBER 04: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announces his decision to forgo candidacy in the Republican primary race for president at a a news conference at the Statehouse October 4, 2011 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie said that "now is not my time" and that he felt committed to his position in New Jersey and would not abandon it. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/2011 Getty Images

Just hours before tonight's debate, Mitt Romney's campaign will get a big boost: Fox News reports that Chris Christie, a week after ending speculation about his own presidential run, will announce his endorsement of Romney in Hanover, New Hampshire. Christie's decision should hardly come as a shock. He's a moderate Northeast governor — who's he going to endorse, the cowboy?

But surprising or not, it's an endorsement that will help Romney in a number of ways. Christie may not be the messiah that the media made him out to be, but he's universally considered to be a no-bullshit, authentic person — in other words, the opposite of Mitt "flip-flop" Romney's reputation. But if Romney has the Christie seal of approval, how phony can he be?

The other benefit of the Christie endorsement is that it comes at a time when Rick Perry, the most viable Romney alternative, is desperate to regain his lost momentum. Instead, Christie's endorsement could signal to the GOP that, with the primaries fast approaching, it's time to quit messing around and coalesce behind the eventual nominee, and that eventual nominee is Romney. The window of opportunity for Perry to convince the party Establishment that he still has a shot at the nomination is closing. The stakes of his debate performance tonight just got even higher.

Chris Christie To Endorse Romney [Fox News]

Update: Here's the video: