Juicy details about the 2012 presidential election – including some of the reasons that GOP candidate Mitt Romney dumped Chris Christie as a potential running mate – have been revealed ahead of the release of what might be one of the year’s most anticipated political books.
From Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the authors behind the uber-popular “Game Change,” comes “Double Down,” a dramatic account of the 2012 election from both sides of the aisle. “Double Down,” which according to reports reads like a novel ripe with rich dialogue, fleshed-out characters, and detailed scenes, will be released by Penguin Press Tuesday.
Among the salacious morsels revealed ahead of the book’s Nov. 5 release is Romney’s on-again, off-again relationship with New Jersey governor Chris Christie – who is up for re-election Tuesday.
Christie’s ability to eloquently and passionately convey Romney’s message to donors and voters won him favor with Romney’s campaign, which reportedly seriously considered the New Jersey governor as Romney’s running mate.
But a series of concerns kept Christie off the ballot, including his perpetual tardiness to fundraising events (Romney is famously punctual), his demand for lavish travel arrangements, and his personal health, according to Time’s political blog.
According to the book, “Romney marveled at Christie’s girth, his difficulties in making his way down the narrow aisle of the campaign bus.... Watching a video of Christie without a suit jacket on, Romney cackled to his aides, ‘Guys! Look at that!’”
In characteristic fashion, Christie fought back. The book describes him as calling Romney’s campaign “a gaggle of clowns who couldn’t organize a one-ring circus.”
More fun morsels: According to “Double Down,” the Romney campaign adopted an aquatic-themed parlance for its vice presidential vetting. The veep search was codenamed “Project Goldfish,” and candidates were codenamed Pufferfish (Christie), Lakefish (Minn. Governor Tim Pawlenty), Filet-O-Fish (Ohio Sen. Rob Portman), Pescado (Fl. Sen. Marco Rubio), and Fishconsin (Wisc. Rep. Paul Ryan).
The book also detailed drama within the Obama campaign, most famously concerns about Vice President Joe Biden. According to the book, the re-election campaign considered swapping then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Biden in an effort to buoy support for the President. Focus groups and polling found no change in support with an Obama-Clinton ticket, so Biden stayed on.
Still, that detail has already put the White House on the defensive, and no doubt created an awkward moment for Obama and Biden.
“Double Down” reveals the source of the claim that Romney evaded taxes for 10 years as Jon Huntsman Sr., father of Jon Huntsman Jr., one of Romney’s GOP primary opponents.
And according to the Washington Post, the book also explains why Obama and Bill Clinton never finished a round of golf at Andrews Air Force base in September 2011. When asked how the unfinished outing with Clinton went, Obama told an aide, “I like him ... in doses.”
We’re expecting more juicy details and plenty more political gossip when “Double Down” hits shelves Tuesday. In the meantime, here's an excerpt.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.