Christie threatened to use the f-bomb in GOP convention speech
July 2nd, 2013
04:07 PM ET
10 months ago

Christie threatened to use the f-bomb in GOP convention speech

(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a top campaign surrogate for former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, threatened to say "f***" during his live, prime time convention speech last August, according to an upcoming book by The Washington Post's Dan Balz.

The title, "Collision 2012," details a tense moment when the director of the Republican National Convention ordered his crew to cut an introduction video for Christie just minutes before he was set to take the stage.

Christie had been deliberate in preparing for the big night and went through 16 drafts of his speech, Balz writes. As he waited for Ann Romney to finish her remarks, organizers grew concerned that the night was getting too long and networks would cut them off at 11 p.m. before it was over. That's when Christie was told a three-minute video about him would be scratched due to time constraints.

The outspoken governor, Balz writes, thought the video set up his speech and insisted that they reconsider. A member of the production team told the director that Christie demanded the video go on as scheduled, but the director again said he was nixing it.

"Christie told her 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."

As Ann Romney's speech wrapped up and Christie was told to start approaching the side stage, he "again said that if the video wasn't shown, he wasn't going to deliver the speech."

"There were more sharp words between Christie and the director. Someone called (Romney's convention team leader Russ) Schriefer. 'I said, 'Play the video, run it,' Schriefer said. The director finally relented and allowed the video to be shown. Christie, irritated, assured him that he would finish by 11 p.m. no matter what."

Christie, who's now considered a potential presidential contender, went on to deliver his widely-anticipated speech. A spokesman for Christie declined to comment on the incident.

CNN obtained a copy of Balz's book, which comes out in August. Balz has a lengthy career of more than three decades at The Washington Post and is a mainstay on the campaign trail. His book about the previous presidential campaign, "The Battle for America 2008" was well-received.

The narrative of his upcoming book also talks at length about the Republican primary, as well as the vetting process for vice presidential candidates, including Christie.

When Romney approached the governor about the potential gig, Christie cautioned Romney that his personality "is kind of big" and he didn't think that would fit in a vice presidential role, Balz writes. Christie said Romney didn't have to do him any favors by throwing out his name as a potential running mate if he knew deep down Christie wouldn't be the pick. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told Romney the same thing, but Romney assured both they were under serious consideration, Balz writes.

However, a rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission known as "pay to play" ultimately made it nearly impossible for Romney to select Christie as his number two. The rule essentially prevented the country's largest banks from making campaign contributions to state and local elected officials in states where big banks and bond companies were doing business. With Christie being governor of New Jersey, a Romney-Christie ticket would not be able to accept donations from Wall Street.

Romney's team considered setting up two separate campaign committees–one for Romney, one for "Christie for Vice President"–but Christie thought it would be too messy and put his state and its business at risk, according to the book.

The only way to avoid the rule was for Christie to resign his governorship. Romney brought it up with Christie over the phone, but Balz acknowledges that different accounts make it unclear whether Romney asked Christie directly if he would be prepared to resign or if he simply told the governor that resignation would be the only way to sidestep the SEC issue. Regardless, Christie laughed at the thought and said he needed time to think about it. "After that phone call, Romney and Christie had no further conversations about joining the ticket," Balz writes.

The book also devotes a chapter, "The Empire Strikes Back," on Romney's counteroffensive against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during the height of their duel before the Florida primary. Romney's team had a series of "Kill Newt" meetings to bring the candidate down after he surged ahead in the race to win the South Carolina primary. They sought to put Gingrich on defense by planting surrogates at his campaign events, overwhelm him with attack ads and target him at debates.

"The plan was to follow Gingrich everywhere he went. 'And it was going to be a mind game because we knew that he couldn't handle it,' one adviser said. 'Our strategy was to go after him with all the earned media tactics we could employ...It was the hardest that we had ever worked, on the entire campaign. We were blowing Newt out over everything. That's what we told Mitt we were going to do'."

It's unclear, however, whether Romney was aware of the name of the meetings. Balz writes that Romney advisers described the plan to the candidate on a conference call as "the path forward plan."

Romney ultimately won Florida, and Gingrich failed to win any other state except Georgia.

The book also details Gingrich's campaign implosion in the early summer of 2011. Gingrich's advisers, wanting to take the campaign in a different direction, abruptly resigned en masse. One of the reasons they left, Balz writes, is because Gingrich had his own "strange ideas" about how to find new groups of supporters.

"One was people who owned pets. Another was Chinese Americans in Iowa. He said he would attract new supporters by focusing on the problem of Alzheimer's disease. He believed he could organize and attract support through the Internet, though he had no real strategy for that....Gingrich had always wanted to do things his way. Now he would have to."

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    Balz appears to have written your political beach read for the summer, folks.

    I don't even know where to begin with all this. "Christie for VP"? Wth? And that whole f-bomb threat? Not a pretty picture: the ego is as colossal as the man himself. If I had been the convention director, I would've calmly said, "This is Romney's show, not yours. Oh, and if you want to drop f-bombs, go right ahead. We'll be sure to air it. Your political career, dude."

    July 2, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Potty mouth republicans.

    July 2, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Lucky he lost the election. Romney is a five time loser for political office, only the GOP party of stupid would run him for president. The GOP is totally incompetent and to stupid to govern!!!!!!

    July 2, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Laverne

    I am so glad this man's true colors are coming out! He is now insulting Obama because it is convenient for him and he feels he has NJ locked up and apparently need to get back into good graces with the republicans. If any democrat was thinking about supporting him in 2014 or 2016 need their head examined! He is a wolf in sheep's clothing and shall I say a pig in sheep's clothing!!!

    July 2, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Donkey Party

    Oh my, and how would those holier-than-thou evangelicals embrace big boy if he dropped the f-bomb? Oh that's right, they could just grant him forgiveness, and forget about the whole sordid incident (aka, turning a blind eye).

    July 2, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    I'm sorry, but I think its funny.

    July 2, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. plain&simple

    Politicians use the "f" bomb everyday. Only Joe Biden on tv. Christie would have been fist to deliberately use it. Fits his image to a tee. He may be fat but not much else sticks to this man!

    July 2, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Republicans " THE PROFESIONAL PARTY " ?

    Lights , Camera , Action .

    Why is Dirty Harry talking to a chair ?

    July 2, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Republicans " THE PROFESIONAL PARTY " ?

    Lights , Camera , Action .

    Why is Dirty Harry talking to a chair ?

    You need to ask your self !

    July 2, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    The whole GOP is an F bomb. They are completely f-ed up in the head and shouldn't be allowed to run anyone else.

    July 2, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    "One was people who owned pets. Another was Chinese Americans in Iowa. He said he would attract new supporters by focusing on the problem of Alzheimer's disease. He believed he could organize and attract support through the Internet, though he had no real strategy for that....Gingrich had always wanted to do things his way. Now he would have to."

    Oh, dear. I don't suppose GOPerville will - after having read this article - see the irony of having voted for the man who calls himself Newt Gingrich? I suspect I should also include voting for Mitt Romney in my comment as well.

    And Chris Christie? He's still a ego ridden work in progress.

    And, yes. I agree. It SHOULD have been Mitt Romney's gig. Unfortunately (for Mitt Romney anyway) the powers that be in GOPerville never really wanted Romney to begin with and had no problem raining on his parade.

    But, hey. GOPerville can tune into CNN and listen as Gingrich continues to milk voters ... one "special" interest group at a time ... while pontificating to his hearts content as a respected CNN Crossfire pundit.

    July 2, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Still the best GOP governor in the country, and I'm a dem. no religious GOP bs from Christi!!!!

    July 2, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    In my opinion this dude better change to Democrats. GOP is gone do dogs for another decade or so.

    July 2, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. California Gary

    Agreed Tom Paine........I think its hilarious! Two GOP "heavy weights" each trying to use their perceived leverage over the other........and the American people almost got "F" bombed in the process. That's funny........

    July 2, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |