Gov. Chris Christie hit two delegation breakfasts this morning and gave two different impromptu talks. To the North Carolina delegation, he delivered a mock threat that if they don’t deliver their swing state to Mitt Romney this fall, he’ll go Jersey on them.
“You let me down, I know enough about North Carolina to know I know where to find you,” Christie said. “You do not want an angry Chris Christie coming back to North Carolina on Nov. 7.”
California Republican Meg Whitman introduced Christie at her delegation’s breakfast. “He always does what is right, regardless of what people are going to say about him,” she said. She also described how he once defended her from a heckler.
“When you get a bully in the room, you have two choices,” Christie said. “You can either sidle up next to him or punch him in the face first, so we decided to punch him in the face first.”
Former California Gov. Pete Wilson said, “He does not mince words. He is a common-sense conservative.”
Pugnacity gave way to loftier thoughts. “Let me tell you, when I come to California, I like to deliver lots of different messages, but the message I want to deliver to California this morning is: there is hope,” Christie said.
Romney and Ryan are that hope, he said. “We’re tired, everybody — I’m sure you are — of the kind of stuff that’s going on in Washington, D.C.,” Christie said. “It is time for us to have a leader in the Oval Office who will bring the members of Congress together and say to them, ‘We’ve been sent here to solve problems, not just to bicker with each other.’ Mitt Romney knows how to do that.”
He described taking on the public employee unions in New Jersey and how his leadership style differs from their governor’s, a Democrat whom he called an old retread. “Jerry Brown? He won the New Jersey presidential primary over Jimmy Carter when I was 14 years old,” Christie said.
California U.S. Senate Candidate Elizabeth Emken agreed with Christie’s speech. “His message is exactly right. Just because it’s a high hill doesn’t mean you don’t climb it,” she said. “And that’s what we’re going to do in California and we’re going to get our state back on track.”
When asked if Christie comes across as brash, California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said, “I think America’s looking for solutions and sometimes it takes some brashness to get solutions.”
A souvenir here said California loves Christie and had him riding a wave on a surfboard.
In one day, Christie has shaken hundreds of hands among activist Republicans, and while he seems fully committed to seeing Romney elected in November, should that fail Christie is building his brand — and that of New Jersey — as he moves through this convention.
Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron reports from St. Petersburg, Fla.