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Romney says 'it will be fun' if Christie gets in; defends flip-flopping

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire Wednesday that it would be "fun" if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also runs for the Republican nomination for president.

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Mitt Romney welcomed the potential entry of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie into the GOP race for the White House, saying "it will be fun" if he gets in, and added he'd be on a "long list" for his vice-presidential picks.

"Chris is a great friend," Romney told reporters after a town-hall meeting here at Saint Anselm College today. "Great guy, colorful character. He is a governor I'd love to see in more political settings, and who knows, maybe he'll get in. It will be fun if he got in."

Romney hailed Christie as a "remarkable leader in the Republican Party," but stopped short of inviting him aboard a potential Romney presidential ticket, saying it would be "presumptuous" to discuss vice-presidential prospects. Less than a minute later, Romney acknowledged Christie would make his list of options.

"There's a long list of people who would be considered for such a thing, but anyone would have to look at the governor of New Jersey as being a remarkable leader in the Republican Party," said Romney.

In the town hall of 250 people -- with his oversized debt clock as a backdrop -- Romney addressed perceptions and concerns that he is "a flip flopper."

"In the private sector," he said, "if you don't change your view when the facts change, well you'll get fired for being stubborn and stupid. Winston Churchill said, 'When the facts change I change too, Madam." What do you do?"

That's different from what he said a week ago, when he said he doesn't change positions.

The American people "can tell when people are being phony and are pandering to an audience," he said, "and you’ll see that in politics. You’re not going to see that in my campaign."

Romney did not address exactly which facts have changed, but has given responses on climate change this cycle.

Today he said, "I think the planet's getting warmer. I think we contribute to that -- could be a lot, could be a little."

Earlier this summer, however, he seemed to cast doubt on humans' impact: "Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that, but I think that it is. I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans."

Also today, the former Massachusetts governor also seized on David Axelrod's description of a "titanic struggle" ahead for President Obama's reelection campaign in 2012, made in the exact same venue just yesterday.

"A titanic struggle? How appropriate an adjective that is," Romney told voters. "The captain of the ship has been inattentive, otherwise occupied or asleep for most of the voyage. It's going to sink!"

Romney also casually mentioned new policies to alleviate educational costs for graduates who go into public service.

"We ought to help those people particularly, who, after college, decide to become involved in teaching or serving in our military or serving in our communities in important ways," he said. "Perhaps a very different interest rate" for those who go into those fields.

Romney will also be raising money in Boston today.