GOP Counting on Christie ‘Direct’ Hit

FILE: March 29, 2012: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks in Manchester, N.J. (AP)

Republicans bank on Christie to put storm-delayed convention back on the map

TAMPA, Fla. –  ( Republicans are counting on  New Jersey’s tough-talking governor to, at least for a night, replace Tropical  Storm Isaac on Americans’ radars with his own brand of gusty rhetoric.

With Chris Christie set to deliver the Republican National Convention keynote  late Tuesday night, it’s up to him to revive the storm-delayed affair. He’ll  have to be delicate — not exactly his strong suit — but the party is also  relying on Christie to serve up a rousing speech that will demand national  attention and rally voters around soon-to-be-nominee Mitt Romney.

The GOP governor reportedly has been crafting and rehearsing a “very direct”  speech for Tuesday night in Tampa that will relate “hard truths” about the state  of the country. The governor has been making the rounds in Tampa already, with  casual talks to various delegations in advance of his keynote address.

Storm or no storm, there is little doubt that the no-nonsense Christie can be  direct. A bigger question among Republicans is whether what works in New Jersey  can be employed to the same effect in making the case for the party’s  presidential candidate.

John Brabender, a longtime strategist for former GOP presidential candidate  Rick Santorum, expects Christie will come out swinging.

“He’s got two speeds — turbo and super turbo,” Brabender told on  Monday night. “He doesn’t have a modulated speed.”

Brabender also said Christie, Romney and the rest of the Republican Party  know it’s the governor’s job to “get people fired up.”

“He’s our cheerleader,” Brabender continued. “And he won’t be shy about  making the case that Barack Obama didn’t make the decisions he needed to. This  will be a pay-per-view event.”

The convention is in need of a blockbuster opening day, and night, after the  storm tracking toward the Gulf Coast delayed proceedings by a day. Several  top-shelf speakers are on deck before Christie, including Ann Romney and  Santorum himself, as the party looks to energize delegates — and viewers –  around their nominee. Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are arriving in  Tampa Tuesday, as delegates prepare to formally nominate the former  Massachusetts governor.

Romney is looking for a pop out of convention week. He’s been running on a  studious economic message for years but remains locked in a tight race against  President Obama despite a wave of dim economic reports this summer.

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Former Army AH-64 Pilot under Ronald Reagan. Editor and columnist for Contributor for Follow on twitter @tlmertz.

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