Romney Donates Max to ... Christie Campaign?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 28 2013 10:09 AM

Maybe Mitt Romney Doesn't Blame His Loss on Chris Christie After All

Chris Christie was a constant presence on the stump for Mitt Romney during last year's campaign—until Sandy hit

Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Here's something of a surprise given Chris Christie's last-second Sandy-fueled embrace of President Obama during the final days of the 2012 presidential election, via Politico:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Romney, whose supporters and aides were furious that Christie complimented the president’s response to Hurricane Sandy, has given the maximum contribution possible, $3,800, to the New Jersey governor’s reelection bid, a source familiar with the donation said.

We probably shouldn't make too much of a $3,800 check—Romney didn't exactly have to sit down with his family and rework his budget to carve out the cash, and he's cut plenty of such checks in the past—but it's nonetheless a significant gesture given his campaign staff made no secret that they thought the New Jersey governor played a major role in deciding the election, and not in the way they would have liked. Here's how they explained things to the New York Times in the weeks after their Election Day loss:

Inside the Romney campaign, there is little doubt that Mr. Christie’s expressions of admiration for the president, coupled with ubiquitous news coverage of the hurricane’s aftermath, raised Mr. Obama’s standing at a crucial moment.
During a lengthy autopsy of their campaign, Mr. Romney’s political advisers pored over data showing that an unusually large number of voters who remained undecided until the end of the campaign backed Mr. Obama. Many of them cited the storm as a major factor in their decision, according to a person involved in the discussion. "Christie," a Romney adviser said, "allowed Obama to be president, not a politician."

Despite the ill will among staff and supporters (along with plenty of other GOPers), Romney himself has never come out publicly to blame Christie, and perhaps the donation—along with the fact that two of his sons reportedly attended a Christie fundraiser in Califronia—suggest that he doesn't. News of the donation, meanwhile, comes the same week that Conservative Political Action Conference organizers, citing Christie's "limited future" in the GOP, declined to invite the absurdly popular governor to this year's event.

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