Chris Christie, New Jersey’s brash and brassy Republican governor, will be unofficially crowned the party’s rising star when he delivers the keynote address at the Republican National Convention later this month in Tampa, Fla.
“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,” Christie, who had long been considered a potential running mate for presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, told USA Today about his upcoming speech.
Christie, 49, told the paper he was already working on a fourth draft of the speech, an indication that he had been given the nod several weeks prior to the Romney campaign’s announcement that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin had been tapped for the veep spot.
While addressing the nation in prime time is not as prestigious as being tapped to be vice president, giving the keynote is often viewed as a springboard to greater national prominence and often the presidency.
Bill Clinton came to national prominence when delivering the DNC keynote in 1988, as did Barack Obama in 2004.
“He is a leader of principle and conviction, and I am excited to hear him address the Republican National Convention as our keynote speaker,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
Another Republican rising star, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, will also speak at the convention in prime time. Rubio will introduce Romney on the last day of the convention, Aug. 30.