Chris Christie to Endorse Mitt Romney; Update: Giuliani Out; Update II: Phillip Klein Eviscerates Chris Christie Over Romney Endorsement

In another attempt to bypass the grassroots, the establishment plows forward. 

With many debates still underway, with many arguments to be heard, and with many primaries to be held and heavily contested, the Washington Post reports that Christie will endorse Mitt Romney today in New Hampshire.

Like many of you, I am very excited to hear what Governor Palin will have to say about this.

Update: According to CNN, Rudy Giuliani has officially announced that he is out as of an hour ago.

Aside from any would-be shake-ups, it would appear the field is now officially set.

Update II by Doug: In a great piece at the Washington Examiner, Phillip Klein destroys whatever intellectual consistency and conservative credibility Chris Christie had left with his endorsement of Mitt Romney:

Some conservative pundits promoted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a Republican presidential candidate, because of his tough talk about the need for leaders embrace real entitlement reform. Yet today, Christie endorsed Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate who not only has avoided offering specifics on entitlement reform, but has campaigned as a protector of welfare programs for senior citizens. Romney also happened to have championed the health care program that served as the model for President Obama’s national health care law.

In a press conference announcing his endorsement, Christie called those who have pointed out the obvious similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare "intellectually dishonest." That’s a list that would include, among other people, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

"Let me suggest to you, that my children’s future and your children’s future is more important than some political strategy," Christie said during a highly-praised February speech at the American Enterprise Institute. "Let me suggest to you that what game is being played down here is irresponsible and it’s dangerous. We need to say these things and we need to say them out loud. When we say were cutting spending, when we say everything is on the table, when we say we mean entitlement programs, we should be specific…If we’re not honest about these things, on the state level about pensions and benefits and on the federal level about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, we are on the path to ruin."

Yet Romney’s presidential campaign has been characterized more by his attempts to portray himself as the guardian of entitlements than it has been by an effort to embrace real reform. He attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry, repeatedly, for criticizing Social Security as a Ponzi scheme, and declared at a recent appearance at a Florida senior citizen community that, "when you see your friends with signs that say keep your hands off our Medicare, they are absolutely right." Peter Suderman had a roundup of all the areas of the federal budget Romney has ruled out cutting. Romney wrote an essay outlining how he would control federal spending that does mention Medicaid reform, but doesn’t mention Medicare or Social Security.

Much more here.  Be sure to read it all.  There can’t be any doubt left that the concerns raised by conservatives such as Mark Levin and others over Chris Christie’s alleged conservatism have been confirmed.  Christie endorsement of a candidate whose views of the proper role of government are anathema to conservatives has seen to that.  Except perhaps in Ann Coulter’s case, that is.  Not that today’s move is surprising.  Christie, after all, has steadfastly refused to criticize Romney over Romneycare, refuses to join the state’s rights lawsuit over Obamacare, and famously endorsed Mike Castle in Delaware last year.

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