Via DailyCaller –
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie likely took himself out of the Republican vice presidential race two weeks ago when he publicly described a terrorist-linked Muslim cleric as his “friend.”
The embrace of an embattled Muslim cleric is a veepstakes disqualifying factor for GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s team, partly because Republicans are trying to step up their outreach to communities of Jewish voters in the crucial swing state of Florida.
Christie is not regarded as a leading candidate for the running mate slot, although some GOP advocates including Bill Kristol have touted his prospects. (RELATED: Is Gov. Chris Christie on the short list to be Romney’s VP pick?)
Romney is expected to announce his choice soon, possibly as early as this week.
Christie offered his personal endorsement of the imam Mohammad Qatanani during a July 24 Iftar dinner at the New Jersey governor’s mansion. In the early 1990s Israeli courts convicted Qatanani of being a Hamas member, but he claims he was not a member of teror group and that he was unaware of the conviction.
Qatanani has lived in the U.S. since 1996. In 2005 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alleged that he had “engaged in terrorist activity,” citing the conviction in Israel, but the subsequent deportation case against him was dismissed by a judge in 2008.
Iftar is Muslims’ evening meal during which they break their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.