Chris Christie: It's about me
The Kansas City Star
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the keynote speaker Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, went 15 minutes or so into his address before he got around to mentioning Mitt Romney by name. This led a number of politicians and pundits to speculate that the speech was more about promoting Christie’s prospects for 2016 than advancing his party’s 2012 ticket.
Rachel Maddow at MSNBC called the speech “a remarkable act of political selfishness.”
Keynote addresses are about setting a tone, and the speakers often tell their own stories. An Illinois state senator named Barack Obama introduced himself to the nation in an autobiographical speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
That said, mentions of this year’s GOP presidential nominee were unusually sparse in Christie’s speech. He used Mitt Romney’s name only seven times, while using the “I” word more than three dozen times.
In comparison, Obama mentioned his party’s nominee, John Kerry, 13 times in his 2004 keynote speech. That same year, disgruntled Democrat Zell Miller, a senator from Georgia, blasted his own party in the keynote address of the GOP National Convention. He mentioned nominee George W. Bush eight times, while using most of his speaking window to lambast Kerry.
If not mentioning your opponent is selfish, then former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani gets the unselfish award for recent conventions. He mentioned GOP nominee John McCain 28 times in his keynote speech. At the Democratic convention, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner spoke Obama’s name 10 times.
So, if we’re keeping count, Christie gave Romney short shrift in his address. Make of it what you will. It’s not likely to have much lasting effect.