[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/17/palinspeech.jpg caption="Palin wasn't exactly a welcome presence in Virginia and New Jersey during both governor's races."]CEDAR CREEK, Texas (CNN) - Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, the soon-to-be-governors of New Jersey and Virginia, both deflected questions Wednesday about why Sarah Palin did not appear with the two Republicans during their respective campaigns.
Christie said he only had three GOP heavyweights visit New Jersey during his campaign - Rudy Giuliani, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney - and each came for a specific reason.
“I had a long standing relationship with Mayor Giuliani,” Christie explained. “Gov. Pawlenty and Gov. Romney both faced the same type of crises financially in their state when they took over that we did.”
McDonnell said his campaign had reached out to Palin nearly a year ago to campaign in Virginia, but said she was overwhelmed with requests at the time. When she stepped down as governor of Alaska in July, McDonnell said, their visitor lineup had already been set - a full four months before election day in Virginia.
“We thought she was a good leader for the party as the governor of Alaska and had some good reforms in the state, but she was in such incredible demand frankly for the longest time we were not able to work out anything for her to come in,” he said. “And then after she decided to leave office we had pretty much already arranged all of the folks that we had for the home stretch for fundraisers, including several current and former governors, and so we pretty much had our strategy set at that point.”
Christie and McDonnell made the comments at a news conference held during the Republican Governors Association's annual meeting near Austin.