Report: Christie was supposed to be Romney's VP

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went to Ohio to support Mitt Romney last month, even as poll numbers show President Obama still holds a consistent lead in the Garden State. (AP Photo / Mark Stahl)

In an oddly-timed, anonymously-sourced article in Politico this morning, Mitt Romney "campaign insiders" say that Gov. Christie was Romney's first choice to be his running mate.

In a matter of two weeks in August, though, Romney switched to Paul Ryan. The reasons given include that Christie was late to a couple of campaign events, indicating he might not be a disciplined running mate, and because he was "too much about himself." There was also concern that he was too brash and would display too much "raw emotion" (gasp!) in the West Wing.

From the story:

Romney was so close to picking Christie that some top advisers at the campaign’s Boston headquarters believed the governor had been offered the job...

“Mitt liked him because he saw him as a street fighter,” a Romney official said. “It’s the kind of political mentality that Romney doesn’t have, but admires. He wanted someone who could play the Chicago game [like Obama headquarters] on its own terms.”...

“He’d be great anywhere there are ordinary white men,” the official said. “They would have loved him because here’s this straight-talking, hard-charging, in-your-face guy, and he’s a man’s man. Ohio is the only battleground state where Mitt has a net negative gender gap — where his approval among men doesn’t outweigh the president’s approval among women. Chris Christie changes that.”

Politico says Christie was vetted in July -- and then the vetting suddenly stopped. The Christie camp, according to the story, was upset with how it ended. And that might have led to the front-page story in the New York Post on the first day of the Republican convention, which contended that Christie didn't want the VP job because he thought Romney was going to lose the election.

And, the Politico article charges, the Christie/Romney relationship was further irked by Christie's self-focused convention speech and then, this week, his public embrace of President Obama on the Jersey Shore.

Was this leaked now to make the governor's handling of Obama this week seem like some sort of retribution for being snubbed for VP? And if so, how does that help Romney?