Chris Christie criticized strategists for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign on Sunday, saying no one should “give a darn” about their political advice, but the New Jersey Republican governor isn’t nearly as dismissive of their input as he lets on.
During his re-election campaign this year, Christie hired a political consultancy firm run by Romney’s former top strategists and paid more than $46,000 for their services.
According to his campaign financial reports, Christie paid $46,007.29 (plus $251 for “transportation/parking”) to the Stevens & Schriefer Group, which is run by Romney’s former senior strategists Stuart Stevens and Russell Schriefer. While Stevens did not work on Christie’s campaign, Schriefer and Ashley O'Connor, another partner in the firm who worked with Romney, were paid to advise Christie on advertising.
“Political advice from people who ran the Romney campaign is probably something nobody should really give a darn about,” Christie said on Sunday during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” Host George Stephanopoulos had just asked him to discuss rumors that Romney’s campaign might have leaked a research file that detailed Christie’s vulnerabilities to the authors of a new book about last year’s election.
The cross-pollination between the Romney and Christie camps isn’t new or surprising. Schriefer is a longtime Christie confidant who worked with him on his first race in 2009, and political consultants regularly work with multiple campaigns. But it does suggest that Christie does indeed value the counsel of those who shepherded Romney in 2012.
The book Stephanopoulos was referring to, “Double Down," by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, is full of embarrassing details about Christie. The book contends that Romney decided not to choose Christie as his vice presidential candidate last year due to concerns about his past. After the book was published, an “embarrassed” Romney called the New Jersey governor to apologize, Christie told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview.
The revelations come as Christie takes early steps toward exploring a possible presidential run of his own in 2016. For now, he still gives at least $46,258.29 worth of a darn about what alumni from Team Romney think.