New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was Mitt Romney’s first choice as a running mate before he had a sudden change of heart and dumped him for Paul Ryan.
Chris Christie was miffed by Mitt Romney’s decision, particularly because he was led to believe in the weeks leading up to Paul Ryan’s introduction that he would be joining Romney on the Republican presidential ticket, Politico reported, citing conversations with “campaign insiders”.
Now Republican party bosses suspect Chris Christie’s momentary embrace of Barack Obama during the President’s tour of devastated New Jersey this week was a deliberate snub to Mitt Romney.
Chris Christie was vetted so hard by the Romney campaign in July that even some of Mitt Romney’s top advisers believed the New Jersey governor was the final choice as the Republican vice presidential candidate.
But Mitt Romney changed his mind over the course of two weeks this summer, advisers told Politico, and instead offered the job to Paul Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin.
Mitt Romney was attracted to Chris Christie for his unfiltered style that has helped turn him into rising star – albeit a controversial one – within the Republican Party.
Chris Christie has a propensity toward swearing, making him a bit of a liability for Mitt Romney, but he also has a knack for appealing to middle class voters, with whom Romney has had a hard time connecting.
At a campaign event for Mitt Romney in Iowa last December, Chris Christie bullied “Occupy” protestors out of a rally, leading Romney supporters to start chanting Christie’s name as they cheered with approval.
“You know what, we’re used to dealing with jokers like this in New Jersey all the time,” Chris Christie shouted at the protesters as they were led out of the rally by Mitt Romney staffers.
“So you guys go all out and chant and do what it is that you want to do.You are so angry, aren’t ya?” Chris Christie badgered.
“It’s so terrible… Oh work it out. Work it all out for yourselves. Work it all out for yourselves.”
In the end, it wasn’t Chris Christie’s bombast that drove Mitt Romney away: It was his disregard for Romney as the man at the top of ticket.
Chris Christie would consistently arrive late at campaign events that he was attending on behalf of Mitt Romney and he would spend the majority of his speaking time on himself, not the Republican presidential candidate.
Mitt Romney advisers began to think that Chris Christie wouldn’t know how to be a “number two” and they suddenly stopped vetting him without explanation just before Romney’s trip to Europe over the summer.
When Mitt Romney returned, he offered the job to Paul Ryan and waited another week to let Chris Christie know, just shortly before announcing his pick publicly.
Chris Christie has since been quietly retaliating against the Romney campaign for his sudden fall from favor, political analysts say.
He made news for his scarce mentions of Mitt Romney during his speech at the Republican National Convention.
“His view was, <<They saw the speech before I gave it. They vetted it. They said it was fine>>,” a Mitt Romney adviser told Politico.
“And the campaign’s view was, <<We told him that we thought there were more opportunities for him to put in stuff about Mitt, and he didn’t take the hint>>. There was a lot of agitation that led to a lot of sarcasm and the kind of comments that people don’t mean, but they kind of do.”
Chris Christie heaped praise on Barack Obama after he was invited onto Air Force One to tour the wreckage left behind by the storm.
“This was as comfortable and relaxed an interaction as I’ve had with the president since I’ve known him,” Chris Christie said.
“And I think it’s ’cause we’re both doing what we wanted to do, which is to get things done.”
Chris Christie said he expected to be criticized for complimenting the president.
“But you know what, I speak the truth,” he said.
“That’s what I always do. Sometimes you guys like it, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes politicians like it, sometimes they don’t. But I say what I feel and what I believe.
“And I’m just doing the same thing with the president of the United States. So, I do pinch myself every day. You know, like when I got on Marine One? I’m pinching myself, believe me.”