Romney Urges Perry to ‘Repudiate’ Jeffress Remarks on Mormonism

BY David Chalian  October 11, 2011 at 3:55 PM EDT

Updated 4:43 p.m. | LEBANON, N.H. | New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got right to work at his newest job Tuesday.

Immediately upon completion of his endorsement and his ascension to star surrogate for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Christie fielded a reporter’s question about the Perry campaign-approved introducer at last week’s Values Voters Summit, Pastor Robert Jeffress, and his calling Mormonism a “cult.”

Christie said that these types of religious matters have nothing do with a person’s ability to lead.

“Any campaign that associates itself with that type of comment is beneath the office of the president of the United States,” Christie added.

Romney, who is a practicing Mormon, then was asked to make his first public remarks on the matter that has dominated much of the campaign news coverage for the last three days.

“I just don’t believe that that kind of divisiveness based on religion has a place in this country,” he said.

“I would call on Governor Perry to repudiate the sentiments and remarks of that pastor,” Romney added.

The Associated Press reports that a Perry spokesperson said Perry refuses to grant Romney’s request.

Christie also came to the defense of the Massachusetts health care law enacted during Romney’s time as governor. Romney has been dogged by similarities between his health care effort and the national overhaul signed by President Obama.

Most recently, the criticism has come forward in the form of an attack ad released Monday by the Perry campaign.

Christie said any attempt to compare the two laws was “dishonest.”