Romney’s eldest son received a message from his father early that day, he told Balz. “ ‘I’m going to tell them I’m out,’ ” Tagg Romney recalled his father saying. “He said there’s no path to win the nomination.”
Romney confirmed after the election that he called his son one morning to tell him he thought he wasn’t going to run. “I recognized that by virtue of the realities of my circumstances, there were some drawbacks to my candidacy for a lot of Republican voters,” he told Balz. “One, because I had a health-care plan in Massachusetts that had been copied in some respects by the president, that I would be tainted by that feature. I also realized that being a person of wealth, I would be pilloried by the president as someone who, if you use the term of the day, was in the ‘1 percent.’ ”
Romney’s exchange with his son wasn’t the first time he expressed doubts about running. During a Christmas holiday trip to Hawaii in 2010, the Romney family held a vote. Should Romney, who lost the 2008 presidential primary, run again? Ten of 12 family members voted no — including the candidate. Only Tagg and Ann Romney, Romney’s wife, voted yes.
The book, titled “Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America,” is due out Aug. 6. It details the 2012 White House race through Election Day and its aftermath.
One part of the story involves New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whom some Republican power brokers had tried to woo into the race. Christie described the effort to recruit him as “craziness.” He recalled being courted by high-profile Republicans, including former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
At one point, wealthy New Yorker Ken Langone invited Christie to a breakfast, the governor recalled. “The way he sold it to me was that this was going to be a small group of his friends who were going to sit and talk with me about why I needed to do this for our country,” the governor said. When Christie showed up, he was surprised to see what he estimated to be 60 people at the gathering.
Christie was later considered by the Romney campaign as a potential vice presidential running mate. A Romney adviser told Balz that the campaign never found a satisfactory solution to a Securities and Exchange Commission “pay to play” rule that would have complicated fundraising efforts had Christie been tapped for the ticket. The SEC rule would have presented Romney with a quandary in soliciting contributions from Wall Street, given Christie’s status as governor of New Jersey.