For the longest time, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the frontrunner to win the Romney campaign's veepstakes. He was brash, vocal and, most importantly he was Romney's personal favorite choice. But in the end the job eventually went to Paul Ryan instead.
The excerpts from Double Down, the new book from Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, are inescapable this weekend, and the latest in Time is a doozy. The Romney campaign's search for a vice president was one of the most well-documented, chased after stories of the 2012 campaign, and we finally have a detailed account of the process behind Ryan's selection.
The veep vetting operation set up an office in Boston. Beth Myers, a longtime Romeny aide, would run the show with help from a team of background checkers. Secrecy was a top priority. Because of repeated attacks from Chinese hackers, Halperin and Heilemann report, the computers in the veep office weren't hooked up to the internet and the team spoke mostly in code. Two team members, Ted Newton and Chris Oman, came up with the project's official name: Project Goldfish, after their junkfood saturated diet vetting diet. The team whittled candidates down to a shortlist and gave them specific code names:
- Chris Christie = Pufferfish
- Tim Pawlenty = Lakefish
- Rob Portman = Filet o Fish
- Marco Rubio = Pescado
- Paul Ryan = Fishconsin