Mixed Reaction to Christie as GOP Keynoter

NJ Gov. to deliver “hard truths” in Tampa convention speech

Partisans on both sides of the political aisle wasted no time reacting to the choice of Gov. Chris Christie as keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention.

New Jersey Republicans cheered the selection announced Tuesday, while Democrats bemoaned the same Christie policies that helped land him the featured role.

GOP state committee Chairman Sam Raia says no elected leader is better suited to giving the party's keynote address than Christie.

He praised the governor for implementing conservative policies such as lowering the cost of government and reining in property tax growth.

Democratic State Committee Chairman John Wisniewski says Christie is the wrong choice for the job.

He says Christie has been falsely boasting about an economic comeback when unemployment remains high and New Jersey ranks 47th in business friendliness.

Christie, who considered a 2012 presidential bid of his own before endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is already at work on his speech to the convention in Tampa, Fla.

"It is an honor to be able to address our party and our nation in just a few short weeks," Christie said in a press release from the RNC. Earlier in a USA Today interview, Christie said "I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them."

"Chris Christie is a national leader in the Republican Party. His leadership proves how the common-sense principles of reducing spending and cutting taxes works in New Jersey and will work for America," said Republican National Convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris.

The keynote speech is the highest profile spot for someone not accepting the party's presidential or vice presidential nominations. The slot has launched many political figures, most notably a little-known state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama in 2004. Four years later, he won the White House.

Christie passed on a presidential run in 2012 and said he wasn’t looking for the VP job either. But, apparently, he wasn't opposed to going to Tampa to deliver a speech that may rekindle buzz about his own presidential ambitions.

“It's what I accomplish or don't accomplish as governor that will be the springboard or not for me,” he told USA Today. “It's not what you say but what you accomplish.”

The Republican convention begins Aug. 27.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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