New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday, sending a signal to the skeptical GOP establishment to fall in line behind the former Massachusetts governor. “I’m here in New Hampshire for one simple reason: America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s the man to lead America and we need him now,” Christie said, standing alongside Romney. The endorsement was a surprise, coming just hours before a GOP presidential debate and just a week after the pugnacious, budget-cutting Christie disappointed party elders and top GOP donors when he decided last week that he wouldn’t run for president in 2012. … After watching the ups and downs of the Republican presidential campaign from the sidelines since mid-August, Tim Pawlenty voiced second thoughts Monday about his decision to pull out of the race after a third-place showing at the Ames, Iowa, straw poll. Speaking at the unveiling of his official portrait commemorating his time as governor of Minnesota, Pawlenty said it was “the wrong call” to invest so heavily in the Iowa straw poll, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Pawlenty placed far behind Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Rep. Ron Paul in the Ames contest. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who had just entered the race at the time, had surged quickly to the head of the pack. But since then, Bachmann and Perry have fallen behind while Herman Cain‘s fortunes appear to be on the rise. … Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s assisted suicide machine is among his personal effects being auctioned in New York City later this month. More than 140 items will be sold Oct. 28 at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan. They also include his paintings, a bullet proof vest and his master lock from prison. Kevorkian used the machine — called a Thanatron — to assist in the deaths of about 130 people. He was convicted of second-degree murder and served eight years in prison. The items are being sold by his niece, Ava Janus, of Troy, Mich.