By Katie Glueck
November 28, 2012

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman on Wednesday praised GOP lawmakers who have signaled a willingness to break with Grover Norquist’s anti-tax hike pledge.

“Whatever they want, however they want to gloss it over is fine by me,” Whitman said on CNN’s “Starting Point. “It makes no sense to tie your hands before you know what you may actually be facing and what you’re going to have to deal.”

The former Republican governor’s comments come as several senior lawmakers have distanced themselves from the pledge, offered by Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform, to not raise taxes as both parties look for a deal to head off the looming fiscal cliff.

She said that by backing away from the pledge, policymakers will have more “room to negotiate.”

“Now what’s happening, and I think it’s a good sign, as far as the ability to come to some kind of compromise on the issue of the fiscal cliff, is that you have thoughtful leaders finally saying, ‘Look, we cannot tie our hands this way,’” she said. “And I don’t care if you want to say it’s a revenue enhancer or really it’s closing a loophole and that’s not raising a tax, whatever it takes to be able to give yourself some room to negotiate. You can’t negotiate if you’ve said, ‘I absolutely won’t consider this.’”

The pledge has been signed by the bulk of congressional Republicans, but Whitman said she never took it during her time leading the Garden State.

“I never took it even though I cut taxes, and kept the budget spending low and all the rest of those good things, and Grover’s group would never endorse me because I wouldn’t take the pledge,” she said.