New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was on Mitt Romney's vice presidential short list initially, but the GOP nominee took him off in part because of his weight.
In their new book Double Down, journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann reveal that one of the reasons Romney quickly eliminated Christie as a running mate was that he was bothered by his lack of physical fitness.
"Romney marveled at Christie’s girth, his difficulties in making his way down the narrow aisle of the campaign bus," the authors write. "Watching a video of Christie without his suit jacket on, Romney cackled to his aides, 'Guys! Look at that!'"
The Romney campaign had dubbed its search for a vice presidential nominee "Project Goldfish," and Christie was stuck with the code name "Pufferfish," according to a report on the book by The Washington Post.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was Lakefish, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was Filet-O-Fish, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was Pescado and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was the not-very-secretive Fishconsin.
The New York Times, which also obtained the book, said that after crossing Christie off, Romney reconsidered choosing him, but eventually ruled him out again due to issues surrounding fundraising and vetting:
Mr. Romney made the decision not only because of the fund-raising restrictions Mr. Christie would face as the governor of New Jersey, but also because Mr. Christie did not offer the same amount of information to Mr. Romney’s team of vetters as the other potential vice-presidential picks.
According to a memo on Mr. Christie from the vetting team, it had unanswered questions on a defamation lawsuit against the governor from earlier in his political career, on a Securities and Exchange Commission settlement involving Mr. Christie’s brother, on names and documentation of his household help, on information from his time as a securities industry lobbyist, and on his medical history. “The dossier on the Garden State governor’s background was littered with potential land mines,” the authors write.
Romney also didn't like Christie's tendency to show up late to campaign events.
Beth Myers, who oversaw the search for Romney, replied to The New York Times, "Governor Christie complied fully with the Romney campaign's request for documents in a timely manner, including a complete medical report from his internist and cardiologist."