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Chris Christie: The best person to headline the GOP convention?
The popular and combative New Jersey governor gets the coveted keynote speaker gig when the party gathers to nominate Mitt Romney. Will he be too blunt?
Republicans are in for "a huge slice of New Jersey attitude" when straight-talking Gov. Chris Christie gives the national convention's keynote address.
Republicans are in for "a huge slice of New Jersey attitude" when straight-talking Gov. Chris Christie gives the national convention's keynote address.
Jessica Kourkounis/
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ew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, an outspoken budget hawk, confirmed Tuesday that he will deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention later this month in Tampa, Fla. (Another rising GOP star, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, will introduce Mitt Romney before the candidate accepts the party's presidential nomination.) "I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we’re in," Christie, once considered a short-lister for Romney's VP nod, tells USA Today, "and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them." The keynote is the RNC's most prominent and coveted speaking slot, as it sets the tone for the convention and the final push toward election day. Is the popular, combative Christie the right choice?

Yes, he's the spark the GOP needs: Christie is a "terrific choice," says the New York Post in an editorial. He's proven over and over that he can fire up GOP audiences, thanks to his own record of budgetary reform and "his fresh outspokenness." Too often, conventions turn into "meaningless coronations with all-too-predictable speechmaking." This time around, Republicans are going to "get a huge slice of New Jersey attitude."
"Keynoter Christie"

Christie might be too blunt: If Christie doesn't "tone it down," he could do more harm than good, Rutgers political scientist David Greenberg tells New Jersey 101.5. His in-your-face style "plays well to the converted," but, this time, he isn't just speaking to conservatives who "don't like the people he doesn't like." If the goal is to win over independent voters and "re-fashion the Republican Party as less ideological, more centrist," the pugnacious Christie is "a tough sell."
"What does Chris Christie really want to accomplish with keynote?"

At least it helps Christie's presidential prospects: Christie "has everything neither Romney nor Ryan has," says Taylor Marsh at her blog, including "a streak of warmth that would appeal to independents and potential cross-over Democrats." Plus, he's a "blockbuster fundraiser." Still, his "blunt, Trumanesque style" can't disguise the fact that the GOP isn't offering "much to get excited about this year." The speech will benefit Christie, though, by setting him up for his own White House run in 2016.
"Chris Christie to keynote GOP convention"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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