Christie Was the First Choice: The Romney Campaign's Veep Buyer's Remorse

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The Romney campaign officially has Paul Ryan buyer's remorse. Citing "campaign insiders," Politico's Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei report Mitt's first choice for Vice President was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. 

Romney liked Chirstie so much because of his "street fighter" style of politics. He thought Christie would be able to play that "Chicago style" game and that Romney struggles with (and the Obama campaign excels at). Christie was so close to getting the nod that some people inside the campaign thought he had received the offer in July, before Mitt went on his trip to the Olympics. But, ultimately, Christie's brash style and "explosiveness" soured the feeling he'd be a good number two among campaign officials. He would command too much attention, and might be difficult to work with in the White House, they decided. After Romney came back from the Olympics, he decided on Paul Ryan and left the others hanging. 

The question becomes: why bring this up now? Why would campaign officials bring up the fact that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was Mitt's first choice for VP before the election is over?

With the odds looking so slim leading into election day, it sure seems like buyer's remorse. You know what buyer's remore is, right? It's when you're choosing between a roast beef sandwich and a turkey sandwich, and you choose turkey only to realize after the first few bites that you really wanted roast beef. That's buyer's remore. Paul Ryan is a turkey sandwich. Paul Ryan was supposed to ignite the base and win the heartland. Has he done that? Ehn. The most telling evidence that members of Romney's inner circle regret going with the Wisconsinite instead of the hard-charging Jersey boy is this quote

“He’d be great anywhere there are ordinary white men,” the official said. “They would have loved him because here’s this straight-talking, hard-charging, in-your-face guy, and he’s a man’s man. Ohio is the only battleground state where Mitt has a net negative gender gap — where his approval among men doesn’t outweigh the president’s approval among women. Chris Christie changes that.”

Christie's spent the last week impressing the centrists and becoming BFFs with the President. We know Romney's been pursuing the white vote aggressively, so that they singled out "white men" shouldn't be a surprise. The good press Chris Christie's received is staggering. So there's the theory that, had they picked Christie and he was on their side through Sandy, Romney might be ahead if the street fighter one was his number two. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.