Though the lack of details about Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s health may have dissuaded Mitt Romney from selecting him as his running mate, a new book on the 2012 campaign suggests the Romney campaign was more concerned with Christie’s past work as a lobbyist that may have implicated him in crony capitalism scandals.
Christie, according to the book Double Down, even lobbied for a financial firm that employed the swindler Bernie Madoff.
According to a report by CNN’s Peter Hamby in the Washington Post, the authors write that Romney and his team were shaken by Christie’s “disturbing” research file that was rife with “garish controversies”:
the authors write: 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. And that’s not to mention the Romney team’s anxiety about the governor’s girth.
Hamby, who himself covered and wrote a research paper on the 2012 campaign, predicts the “the book’s revelations are a Drudge-ready public relations nightmare that will send his advisers scrambling to explain awkward aspects of his record and his personal life just as he is stepping onto the national stage.”
There are other details about the relationship between Romney’s and Christie’s inner circles. Romney’s aides alleged that “dealing with Christie’s overbearing team was about as pleasurable as a traffic jam on the New Jersey Turnpike. For Christie’s staff in Trenton, the feeling toward the Romney machine was pretty much mutual.” In addition to details about how Christie was not a team player, Romney is portrayed as someone who made fun of Christie’s fatness and ribbed his male campaign staffers who dated overweight women.
But the concerns Romney’s advisers had about Christie’s lobbying and financial dealings may be the biggest takeaway. Mainstream media writer Marc Ambinder made similar observations for The Week. According to Ambinder, the authors write that the “Garden State governor’s record was littered with potential landmines”:
The biggest worry for Romney’s veep vetters about Christie was not his health: It was about various financial dealings involving his family and friends. A 2010 DOJ investigation into Christie’s spending habits as a U.S. attorney. His time as a lobbyist for the securities industry. His brother’s dealings with the SEC, and more. Christie had contempt for Romney’s operation, which returned the feelings: Christie was a very hard surrogate to manage, insisting on very expensive charters and emoluments…