Jul 3, 2013 No Comments ›› Jake Hammer
Excerpted from CBS NEWS
Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., threatened to drop the “f-bomb” during a nationally televised speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s eventual 2012 nominee, almost aborted his presidential run in 2011 because he didn’t see a viable path to the nomination. And Romney’s advisers, frightened by Newt Gingrich’s victory in the South Carolina primary, held a series of “Kill Newt” strategy sessions in the days after the primary.
These are only a few of the more startling revelations in “Collision 2012,” the tell-all 2012 election book written by Dan Balz, the Washington Post’s Chief Correspondent and a decades-long presence on the presidential campaign trail. CBS News has obtained a copy of the book, which will go on sale on August 6.
The presence of Christie loomed large over the 2012 election, even though he had publicly maintained that he would not run. Balz reveals how pervasive the effort to draft Christie into the race became during the summer of 2011, when figures including former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger contacted the popular New Jersey Republican, entreating him to throw his hat into the ring.”Craziness,” was how Christie described the pressure to Balz. “Unsolicited phone calls from all over the country. … I was in this job six, eight, nine months and I just was shocked. …I remember thinking, ‘This is a just completely surreal and not what I expected,’ and little did I know … that it would get a lot crazier.”
In addition to Bush and Kissinger, former first ladies Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan and billionaire businessman David Koch also pushed Christie in the direction of a run.
When he eventually decided against a run, he was again courted – this time by the Romney campaign – as a potential vice presidential candidate. Though he had cautioned Romney that he had a “big” personality that may not be well-suited to playing second fiddle, Romney assured Christie that he remained under serious consideration, Balz writes. In the end, it was money, not chemistry, that kept Christie off the GOP ticket. A “pay to play” regulation from the Securities and Exchange Commission prevented the country’s largest banks from donating to candidates and elected officials from states in which big banks were located. If Christie, the governor of New Jersey, were added to the ticket, Romney’s campaign would have been barred from accepting any campaign contributions from Wall Street – a critical source of cash for the GOP candidate, formerly a private equity manager.
In a phone call, Romney asked Christie whether he would be willing to resign the governorship to side-step the SEC regulation. Christie laughed and said he needed time to think about it, but eventually decided to stay put in New Jersey. “After that phone call, Romney and Christie had no further conversations about joining the ticket,” Balz writes.
Ultimately, Christie was given the keynote address at the 2012 GOP convention – a coveted speaking slot reserved for rising stars. There, his “big” personality came out in a big way: when organizers told Christie that they were scrapping a three-minute introduction video before his speech due to time constraints, the governor insisted they reconsider. When they pushed back, according to Balz, Christie told a member of the production team “to ask the director if he had ever heard anyone say ‘f***’ on live television, because that’s what he was about to do if the video didn’t run.”
After another sharp exchange, Christie said he wouldn’t deliver the speech if the video didn’t run. Romney’s convention team leader, Russ Schriefer, intervened, instructing the director to play the video.In the book, Balz also reveals new details about the Romney campaign itself, painting a picture of the 2012 nominee as something of a reluctant warrior.
Most of his family did not want Romney, who unsuccessfully sought the nomination in 2008, to run again. When he polled his wife, his five sons and five daughters-in-law in 2010 about the prospect of another run, only his wife Ann Romney and eldest son Tagg Romney were in favor; Mitt, the other four sons, and all five daughters-in-law were opposed. Keep Reading