Ready for Romney. Governor Chris Christie held a private fundraiser for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Morris County, his first since endorsing the former Massachusetts governor back in October.

Roughly 500 New Jersey Republicans packed the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton in Parsippany to hear Romney speak.

With Bruce Springsteens, "Born To Run" blaring, Governor Chris Christie took to the stage at roughly 8pm Monday.

"New Jersey tonight is officially Mitt Romney country," Christie said to rousing applause.

Christie said a private fundraiser for Romney in northern New Jersey brought in $1.1 million to help the candidate compete in early nominating contests such as Iowa's and New Hampshire's.

Christie said Romney is the type of governor America needs during these extraordinary dangerous and difficult times, "Mitt Romney will help create millions of new jobs and will stop the government from destroying private sector jobs and kicking people out of work."

He said Romney worked across party lines and help make a difference as governor in Massachusetts, "executive experience in the private sector and executive experience in the public sector...and let's just say that we have had the experience over the last three years of someone in the Oval Office who has no idea how to lead...Mitt Romney will lead America to greater days ahead."

Romney started off his remarks by joking that the room was full of more Republicans than his entire state.

He talked about growing up in Michigan, how his parents taught their children to love America on a trip through the country's national parks and the meaning of patriotism.

He said the United States must continue to chart its own course, not follow Europe's examples.

"Right now as we have a choice. Do we follow Europe or do we follow America? I don't think Europe is working in Europe. It's not going to work here," he said. "The right answer is to believe in America and believe in the principles that made us the hope of the earth."

Romney said he understands there are challenges around the world and at home, but he's confident that he can overcome them.

"There are a few ingredients that we need. We need leaders that have a willingness to speak the truth, and leaders that will draw on the strength of the patriotism of the American people. These are principles that are enduring. They are God-given," he said. "These are principles I would restore to Washington so we might have freedom, we might be strong, so we might care for those in need and that we might remain the shining city on the hill."

Neither Christie nor Romney mentioned Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker who has surged ahead of Romney in recent polls.

The private fundraiser at the Hilton hotel in Parsippany also was to showcase Christie's power to unify the state party and garner important endorsements from county party chairmen across the state. All 21 GOP county chairs were on stage with Romney and Christie. Most of the Republican delegation in the Legislature was also there.

"Mitt Romney is the best-qualified man to be president of the United States and the only man who can send Barack Obama back to Illinois," Christie said.