Book: Ethical Questions Kept Christie Off 2012 Ticket

Image: Book: Ethical Questions Kept Christie Off 2012 Ticket

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 05:41 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Health concerns and poor personal chemistry were only the superficial reasons why Mitt Romney's presidential campaign passed over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the second spot on the GOP presidential ticket, according to "Double Down," a new book  by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
"A Justice Department investigation into his free-spending ways as U.S. attorney, his habit of steering government contracts to friends and political allies, a defamation lawsuit that emerged during a 1994 run for local office, a politically problematic lobbying career that included work on behalf of a financial firm that employed Bernie Madoff," all contributed to the decision to keep Christie off the ticket, according to a review of the book in Sunday's Washington Post by CNN political reporter Peter Hamby.

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Summing up the book's portrayal of the Romney campaign's decision, another reviewer, journalist Marc Ambinder, concludes: The "Garden State governor's record was littered with potential land mines."

There were concerns that Christie's tenure as U.S. attorney, his role as a securities industry lobbyist, his raging temper, and the dealings his brother had with the SEC could all come back to haunt the campaign. To top it all off, Romney's people did not see Christie as a team player. The campaign dubbed him "Pufferfish."

"And that's not to mention the Romney team's anxiety about the governor's girth," Hamby adds.

Halperin and Heilemann, who had access to the dossier used by the campaign to vet Christie, recall the New Jersey governor had campaigned for Romney starting in October 2011 only to see their relationship finally crash and burn a year later in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

In a Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney distanced himself from the way Halperin and Heilemann characterized his relationship with Christie. Romney said a Christie 2016 presidential candidacy could "save" the Republican party and that Christie's health "is very solid, very good."
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