By Jo Piazza / current.com / @jopiazza
He is big, he is brash and he very well could be our next vice president. Meet New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Speculation spiked over Christie's chances at the No. 2 seat this week when he told CNBC that he would listen if presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney gave him a call about the post.
"This is an election with one voter, Mitt Romney. He gets to decide who he thinks should be vice president of the United States. I love being governor of New Jersey," Christie said. "But the fact is, if Gov. Romney picks up the phone and calls, you have to answer the call and listen at least."
It's a far cry from the outright veep denials we have been hearing from so many other candidates.
If Christie is indeed the man for the job, there are a few things you should know about the governor before he becomes an even bigger shot.
1. He has an unrequited love for Bruce Springsteen. Christie has been to more than 130 Boss concerts. He knows most of Springsteen's lyrics by heart, and his favorite song is "Thunder Road." Yet even though the rocker calls New Jersey home, the staunchly liberal Springsteen won't meet with the governor and reportedly will not return his calls.
2. He doesn't live in the New Jersey governor's mansion. Christie eschewed Drumthwacket, the posh Greek revival mansion in Princeton, N.J., in favor of his own place in the suburb of Mendham, N.J. Christie said he didn't want to disrupt his children's schooling by moving to another district. He uses the mansion for dinners and official functions.
3. He likes to reward his friends. In 2007, Christie was criticized for giving a highly lucrative gig ($52 million) to former boss John Ashcroft. As a U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Christie planned a $311 million project to end kickbacks by manufacturers of knee and hip replacements in the state. Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was one of the lawyers Christie selected to monitor the implant manufacturers. The agreement allowed the Ashcroft group to collect between $1.5 million and $2.9 million for monthly consulting services.
4. He uses state police helicopters to attend family functions. The fiscal conservative had no problem using the state-owned helicopter to drop in on his son's baseball game in 2011 for just a couple of innings. After much was made in the media of the trip (dubbed "coptergate"), Christie reimbursed the state for the two rides.
5. He's a real big deal on YouTube. Known for his brash and often confrontational rhetoric, Christie has a solid following on YouTube. His 2010 exchange with a New Jersey schoolteacher has gotten more than a million views on the site.
6. He doesn't care that you think he is fat. While running against former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, Christie said he wished that his opponent would simply put the fat issue right on the table: "Man up and say I am fat," Christie declared.
7. Schoolteachers don't like him very much. In 2010, Christie cut the budget deficit by reducing funding for schools by $820 million. He also supports making tenure more difficult for teachers to obtain and easier for them to lose.
8. He uses an inhaler. Christie has suffered from asthma since he was a kid and often carries a rescue inhaler with him just in case he has difficulty breathing. He was admitted to the hospital last July for the condition.
(Photo from Getty Images)
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