New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dismissed criticism of his GOP bona fides with characteristic bluntness, saying he is a "damn good Republican."
In an interview on NBC’s "Rock Center," the governor -- whose revelation that he underwent weight-loss surgery has re-ignited speculation about a 2016 presidential bid -- was asked how he would "survive a primary process on the current set-up of the Republican Party."
“Listen, I think very well," Christie answered in the interview, set to air Friday. "I’ll worry about the presidency if and when I ever decide to run for it. But if you’re saying to me, ‘How do I feel as a Republican?’ I’m a damn good Republican and a good conservative Republican who believes in things that I believe in."
He added, "But that does not mean that I would ever put party before my state or party before my country."
Christie endured attacks from some conservatives after he hailed President Barack Obama's handling of Hurricane Sandy in the weeks leading up to the November election.