Christie: Santorum will not be GOP nominee

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was very blunt in his assessment of the Republican presidential nominating contest: "Rick Santorum will not be the nominee."

On CBS News' "Face the Nation," the New Jersey governor told host Bob Schieffer that the former Pennsylvania Senator is less appealing to a broader Republican base (as well as to independent voters) than is Mitt Romney, and that Santorum is mistakenly focused on social issues.

When asked about the GOP primaries' focus on social issues, Christie said it was Santorum who is discussing issues such as contraception. "He's trying to appeal to a certain sector of our electorate."

On the other hand, Christie said, Romney is focusing on the issues people "care most about."

"What people care about more is getting a job; being able to pay their mortgage and put food on the table," Christie said. "Those are the issues Mitt Romney is hitting head-on right now.

"In the end Governor Romney, who has real conservative values but has real appeal to independents across the country, is going to be the nominee," Christie said.

However, Schieffer pressed Christie on Romney's struggle to pull away from the Republican pack.

Christie, who endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, said the Republican primary voters are "still shopping" but "they're going to come to Governor Romney."

As for recent attacks by Santorum on the former Massachusetts governor, insisting he is not clear in his convictions, Christie responded by saying Santorum is engaged in "naked opportunism."

He pointed to Santorum's endorsement of Romney during the 2008 Republican presidential primary.

"When he was endorsing him in 2008 he called him a real conservative," Christie told Schieffer. "Now that he's running against him, he doesn't know what Mitt Romney is!"

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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