- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie played a starring role in Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s inauguration ceremony Wednesday, marking the conclusion of his victory tour celebrating GOP candidates he helped elect as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

The appearance capped a two-day jaunt to the Washington area, where the likely presidential candidate met with lawmakers and courted potential donors and power brokers in closed-door meetings as he continues to mull a 2016 run.

Christie, who bonded with Hogan during the race, was tasked with introducing the newly sworn-in governor on the statehouse steps. He praised Hogan’s style, describing him as someone who can reach across the political aisle to get things done.

“You see, as long as you stick to your principles, I do believe that compromise and consensus are not dirty words, because to accomplish what you need to accomplish here in Maryland, you are going to need someone who can bring people together - someone who isn’t afraid to be known as bipartisan, and that’s exactly the person you have in Governor Larry Hogan,” Christie said.

Earlier in the morning, Christie attended a meet-and-greet with House Republicans on Capitol Hill. Michigan Rep. Candice Miller, who helped to organize the event, said Christie spent about an hour speaking about a range of issues, from national defense to the economy. She and others said he’d stressed the need for Republicans to get things done.

“The American people are looking for straight talk about the problems we face and how we’re going to work together to solve them,” she said, adding: “His message would very much, in my opinion, resonate with America.”

Christie also spent time with anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, who hosted a dinner for the governor Tuesday night. Norquist said Christie is one of a half-dozen talked-about candidates he would be open to supporting.

“On taxes and the size of government and reforming government, he is everything you’d want,” Norquist said.

Christie, who is expected to launch a political committee that can raise and spend money as soon as this month, said the meetings were helpful as he and his wife consider their options.

“What I’m basically saying to people is telling them kind of what I learned over the last year traveling around the country and then kind of getting their input about what they think, you know, and asking peoples’ opinions: ‘Do you think that this is something that I should be doing and what’s your view and opinion on it?’” he said, adding that people had been “pretty candid in giving me their opinions, which has been really good.”

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Colvin reported from Newark, New Jersey.

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