New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was slated and billed as the keynote speaker for the first night of festivities at the Republican National Convention. Christie’s job was to prop up Republican Presidential Nominee, Mitt Romney and arouse the crowd with encouragement as to why Romney is the best man for the job. But as most analysis who were listening to the speech observed, Christie waited approximately 1800 words into a 2600 word speech before bringing up Romney’s name. Instead, Christie spent two thirds of the speech talking about himself and his accomplishments as if Romney had no accomplishments worth mentioning.
In addition, Gov. Christie didn’t hesitate to pounce on Obama and the Democratic party every time he had the chance.
Christie — who didn’t mention the President by name started out with a gentle touch, evoking warm images of his mother, the real boss of his family. But it wasn’t long before he got down to politics, citing New Jersey’s track record — under his leadership, of course — as an example of what could be done under a Romney administration.
“When I came into office, I could continue on the same path that led to wealth, jobs and people leaving the state or I could do the job the people elected me to do — to do the big things,’ he said.
“There were those who said it couldn’t be done. The problems were too big, too politically charged, too broken to fix. But we were on a path we could no longer afford to follow.” And “we did it” when it came to cutting taxes, taking on public sector unions and demanding more teacher accountability, Christie said, couching his pat on the back in a Republican-versus-Democratic struggle for ideology.
“We ended an era of absentee leadership without purpose or principle in New Jersey,” he said. “It’s time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House.”
Christie, following potential First Lady Ann Romney, came into a friendly arena.
His laugh lines paid off, he delivered crowd-pleasing plugs for American ingenuity and he carefully avoided the hot-button social issues covered by other speakers who might be seen as having more credibility with a right-leaning audience.
What remains to be seen is whether Christie’s philosophy — and his style — could play in early voting states in 2016 or 2020. After all, this is the candidate who stumped for Romney before the Iowa caucuses with the warning, “If you people disappoint me on Tuesday, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do on Tuesday for Mitt Romney, I will be back — Jersey style.”
As Christie settled into his speech, the Twitter universe was abuzz over what he was not saying: Mitt Romney’s name. It was about 18 minutes into his keynote before the Garden State governor mentioned the GOP presidential nominee by name.
Before that moment finally came, television cameras flashed occasionally at Romney and his wife, Ann.
Mitt’s face looked tight and his smiles forced. He seemed annoyed. Ann clapped beside him with little emotion.
“We believe that if we tell the people the truth they will act bigger than the pettiness we’ve seen in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “We win when we make it about what needs to be done; we lose when we play along with their game of scaring and dividing.”
“We need politicians to care more about doing something and less about being something,” Christie said. “Believe me, if we can do this in a blue state like New Jersey with a conservative Republican governor, Washington is out of excuses.”
Christie said the century of American influence was waning, but the United States could lead the world for another century if the country put its fiscal house in order.
“I don’t want my children and grandchildren to have to read in a history book what it was like to live in an American Century,” he said. “I don’t want their only inheritance to be an enormous government that has overtaxed, overspent and over-borrowed a great people into second-class citizenship.”
Christie was courted by conservative leaders to make a White House run this season. He demurred, throwing his support behind Mitt Romney. He was, for a time, reportedly being considered as Romney’s running mate.
While Christie’s speech was replete with fiery red meat language, which was well received by the partisan crown, not mentioning any of Romney’s accomplishments may have been a monumental mistake.