Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Romney made fun of Christie's weight, called him 'pufferfish,' almost made him running mate

The Christie camp is refuting the general thrust of the book, "Double Down," by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (a follow-up to the best-seller "Game Change" about the 2012 race). It frames Christie as an egocentric politician with lavish lifestyle requirements and a tendency to be late to events. Mitt Romney appears to be depicted worse, especially when he reportedly makes fun of Christie's weight.

Romney made fun of Christie's weight, called him 'pufferfish,' almost made him running mate

Happier times: Chris Christie campaigns for Mitt Romney during his 2012 Presidential campaign.
Happier times: Chris Christie campaigns for Mitt Romney during his 2012 Presidential campaign. AP Photo

A forthcoming book with excerpts released over the last 48 hours is technically about the 2012 presidential election, but it is the tidbits about Gov. Christie -- who wasn't even a candidate in the race -- that are drawing the most attention during this weekend before his gubernatorial race.

The Christie camp is refuting the general thrust of the book, "Double Down," by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (a follow-up to the best-seller "Game Change" about the 2012 race). It frames Christie as an egocentric politician with lavish lifestyle requirements and a tendency to be late to events. Mitt Romney appears to be depicted worse, especially when he reportedly makes fun of Christie's weight.

“It’s all just about trying to sell as many books as possible,” the governor said Friday, according to the Star-Ledger. “I’ll read it when it comes out, and if I have anything more to say then, I’ll let you know.”

His opponent in Tuesday's election, though, is talking about it now. According to PolitickerNJ.com, at an appearance in Edison on Saturday Barbara Buono said that based on the revelations about Christie's demands on the Romney campaign trail, instead of calling him the governor "we ought to call him the prima donna."

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After cultivating Democrats, Christie awaits payoff

Here's a rundown of the Christie bits in the new book, which is excerpted in TIME magazine, here:

  • Before Christie decided against running for president in 2011, Christie told Romney during a meeting at the governor's mansion in Princeton not to raise campaign funds in the Garden State until he had made his own announcement about running. Romney found this "galling, like something out of The Sopranos. Are you kidding me, Mitt thought. He’s going to do that?"
  • Romney crossed Christie off of his list of potential vice presidential candidates, then he put him back on after being pressured by aides. Christie's code name during the veep search was "pufferfish."
  • Romney's veep vetting team had concerns about Christie that the governor failed to adequately address, including: his physical fitness, his household help, a defamation lawsuit against him when he was a young politician, a federal civil settlement involving Christie’s brother, his spending on travel as U.S. Attorney, government contracts he gave to donors and information from his time as a lobbyist in Trenton. Other than the househeld help issue, these matters have been raised earlier in Christie's political career. The woman in charge of Romney's vetting, Beth Myers, has since released a statement refuting the accusations.
  • While campaigning and fundraising for Romney, Christie annoyed the presidential candidate because Christie's team "insisted on private jets, lavish spreads of food, space for a massive entourage.”
  • Also while campaigning, Christie was always tardy: "Christie made a habit of showing up late to Romney fundraising events. In May he was so tardy to a donor reception at the Grand Hyatt New York that Mitt wound up taking the stage to speak before Christie arrived. When the Jersey governor finally made his grand entrance, it was as if Mitt had been his warm-up act."
  • Romney regularly made fun of Christie's weight: "Romney marveled at Christie’s girth, his difficulties in making his way down the narrow aisle of the campaign bus. Watching a video of Christie without his suit jacket on, Romney cackled to his aides, 'Guys! Look at that!'"
  • The Romney advisors vetting Christie for running mate put together a DVD (how retro) of YouTube clips depicting Christie's most outlandish statements.
  • Well after the race was underway, GOP elders sought an alternative to standard-bearer Romney. In late February 2012, Former MIssissippi Gov. Haley Barbour met with Christie in Washington to ask if he'd run. Christie decided it would be "career suicide," the book said.
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