Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney denied on Tuesday that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) had bullied him during the 2012 election.
In an interview on Fox News, Romney was asked by host Neil Cavuto about a story depicted in the book “Double Down: Game Change 2012.” The book reported that Christie had forbidden Romney from fundraising in New Jersey until Christie made an endorsement in the 2012 presidential race.
The question gave Romney a chance to pile on at a time when the Garden State governor and his administration has been facing a series of scandals, including one involving lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Some have even blamed Christie for Romney’s loss because the then-popular New Jersey governor praised President Obama days before the election and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
But while Romney on Tuesday confirmed the fundraising moratorium had occurred, he did not criticize Christie for it.
“Chris wanted to make sure that if we were going to come into his state and raise money that he had something to say about it,” Romney said. “My guess is Chris wanted to have the kind of political leadership in his state that made sure he had clout in deciding who our nominee might be.”
Cavuto responded by noting Christie’s behavior toward Romney seemed “bully-esque.” Romney countered that it was evident of a “tough” leadership style that might appeal to voters.
“I consider it being kind of a strong, LBJ-type leadership style alright,” said Romney. “And I think people look at Chris Christie, I know some in the media are concerned that he’s going to look like he’s too tough, but I think people want someone tough. I think they want someone who can get Republicans and Democrats to work together, who can control his own party and keep them from running off the rails.”
“Double Down” also reported Romney decided not to pick Christie as his running mate because the vetting process unveiled “garish controversies lurking in the shadows” of Christie’s record. Cavuto did not ask Romney about that.