Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey relished the accolades from supporters who wanted him to run for president even though he turned down the opportunity, according to a forthcoming book on the 2012 presidential election.
In "Collision 2012," Washington Post political writer Dan Balz details an event in Manhattan in the summer of 2011 at which 60 potential donors encourage him to run for president. This elite group was comprised of several high-profile businessmen as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, The New York Time reports
in a prelude to the book's publication next month.
While Christie expected the group to urge him to run, he was surprised by the intensity of their support, he told Balz.
"Your country needs you," Kissinger told the room, which erupted into applause.
Balz writes that Christie "savored every moment of the experience," an observation the Times noted that reinforces what some see as the Republican governor's apparent inability to mask his "outsized ego."
According to the Times, Balz also recounts other instances in which Christie seems to relish the attention as a possible presidential contender. In one, he even makes it clear to Mitt Romney, who would later become the Republican presidential nominee, that he should seek his approval before raising money in New Jersey.
"It was a rather tense conversation between the two of us in February of '11, and I heard later from others that he left not very happy with the approach I took," Christie told Balz, according to the Times.
In another, Balz relates how Christie handled a situation at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in 2011, when former First Lady Nancy Reagan appeared to suggest that he should run by offering him the use of one of her husband's "podiums from the White House" to deliver a speech.
"You're bad, you know that?" he reportedly told the first lady.
According to the Times, Balz also says Christie told him that even more than his decision not to run in 2012, his endorsement of Romney was an "enormous gift" to the former Massachusetts governor. Even Romney said the endorsement was "Christmas in October," Balz recalls the governor saying.
"Collision 2012" isn't due out until August, but advance copies are making the rounds among reporters, politicians, and campaign operatives.
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