The seven best tidbits from Dan Balz’s ‘Collision 2012′

August 6, 2013

It's time to revisit the 2012 election.


(Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

"Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America," a highly-anticipated read from The Washington Post's Dan Balz, is out. The book covers the 2012 election and its aftermath, from Mitt Romney's decision to run for president through to his post-election reflection on his loss to President Obama. (Many of the most notable passages involve Romney.)

Below are the seven best tidbits from the book. The comments section awaits your input, too.

1. Romney wasn't always keen on running. The Romney family spent Christmas in Hawaii in 2010, where they held a vote about whether the former governor should run for president again in 2012. Ten of the 12 voted no -- including Romney.

2. And he considered ending his campaign before it really started. When he was still in the exploratory phase of the campaign in May of 2011, Romney had second thoughts about running, according to his oldest son, Tagg. “I’m going to tell them I’m out,” Tagg recalled his father telling him one morning when a scathing op-ed was released about his Massachusetts health-care law. “He said there’s no path to win the nomination."

3. Newt Gingrich worried Romney. A lot. Even as his advisers sought to reassure Romney that Gingrich wasn't going to defeat him, the eventual GOP nominee was still fretting. “I have to tell you that, in the discussions I had with my senior staff, people like Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer said, ‘Look, Newt is not going to be the nominee. I don’t care what the polls say, he’s not going to be the nominee.’ I was far less sanguine about that,” Romney told Balz.

4. Romney didn't see "self-deportation" as a negative term. Democrats barraged Romney with attacks about the conservative stance on immigration he adopted, pointing consistently to his comments about "self-deportation." In retrospect, Romney said he didn't see it at the time as connoting something negative. “I thought of it as being a term that is used in the community of those discussing immigration,” Romney told Balz in January of 2013. “I hadn’t seen it as being a negative term.”

5. Republican power brokers made a big push to convince Christie to run. A lot of noteworthy Republicans wanted to see New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) run for president. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger tried to woo him. So did conservative billionaire David Koch. Christie once attended a breakfast meeting he believed would be an intimate gathering, Balz writes. It turned out that 60 people were in attendance, according to Christie's estimate.

Here's Balz talking about Christie on Post TV's "In Play:"

6. And Christie thought really highly of his early endorsement of Romney. Christie of course didn't end up running for president. And he quickly turned around and backed Romney. The New Jersey governor saw that as a major prize. "For me to make that decision that quickly and to be willing to put myself out there for him that early, when no one else really had, I think was a real leap of a faith and a gift politically because nobody else was willing to do it," Christie told Balz.

7. Perry says he didn't lose sleep after his "oops" moment. After failing to recall the name of the third government agency he wanted to axe as president during one of the debates, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) didn't stay up all night kicking himself. “I told somebody the ‘oops’ moment was kind of just one of those things that happens in life and I knew I was going to see it over and over again, but it wasn’t anything,” Perry told Balz. “I think I went back and actually slept that night.”

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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