New Jersey governor Chris Christie was Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's first choice for running mate, according to Politico.

Romney ultimately changed his mind and anointed Rep. Paul Ryan, the rising young Republican budget guru, as his vice presidential candidate. But according to campaign officials who spoke to Politico, Romney was initially drawn to Gov. Christie's famous combativeness, something that would make him an asset on the campaign trail and help counterbalance Romney's stiffness with voters.

“He’d be great anywhere there are ordinary white men,” an official told Politico. “They would have loved him because here’s this straight-talking, hard-charging, in-your-face guy, and he’s a man’s man. Ohio is the only battleground state where Mitt has a net negative gender gap -- where his approval among men doesn’t outweigh the president’s approval among women. Chris Christie changes that.”

Widely considered to be a contender for the presidential nomination in 2016 should Romney lose, Christie has been at the center of the conversation frequently during this campaign cycle. Admirers in the conservative commentariat implored him to run against Romney in the early goings, and after Romney secured the nomination, many saw Christie as a logical VP choice.

But Romney ended up opting for Ryan, lending his imprimatur to a budget plan, authored by Ryan, that has become the central ideological scaffolding for the Republican Party. Officials told Politico that Romney was deterred in part by Christie's brash style and the perception that he could overshadow Romney as he set himself up for a future run -- a perception cemented by Christie's self-adulating speech at the Republican Convention.

Had Romney chosen Christie, it could have led to some surreal moments as the country grapples with Hurricane Sandy's aftermath. President Obama and Gov. Christie have surveyed the storm's damage together in New Jersey, leading Christie -- typically one of Obama's most vociferous critics -- to enthusiastically praise the president's response to the storm.