Tuesday is a big night for Gov. Chris Christie since he’ll be giving the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Steve Adubato, who knows Christie well, told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the opportunity is huge for the governor, who many wrote off in the past. He also said he doubts Christie is nervous for the speech.
Adubato said Christie failed in bids for freeholder in Morris County and a seat in the state Assembly and Republicans in the Morris County area said his political career was over. He said Christie has successfully bounced back and now all eyes will be on him.
A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released today found that the majority of New Jersey voters don’t expect Christie’s keynote address to positively impact the state. When asked if the governor has become a divisive figure at home, Adubato said, “You can’t do what he’s done, you can’t say the things that he has said and try to change things without getting some people upset. And that’s what he has done.”
Some have expressed concern that Christie is such a strong speaker that he could overshadow Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention. Adubato said he believes some people who see Christie’s keynote address will wonder why he’s not running for president instead of Romney. “Christie’s got to watch that in my opinion because that’s not good for him because the Romney folks have to feel like Christie’s a good team player,” Adubato said.
According to Adubato, Romney has changed his position on certain issues since running for president, citing liberal leanings on gay issues, gun control and health care when he was governor of Massachusetts. “My point is the thing that people like about Christie, even if they disagree with him — and there’s a lot to disagree with him on certain issues,” Adubato said. “He is who he says he is.”
While Adubato said most in Christie’s position would be anxious about the speech, he believes Christie isn’t nervous. “I think he has no anxiety. I think he is pumped,” Adubato said. “I think he’s ready to do this. He’s been wanting to do it his whole life. This is his speech.”
One area that won’t necessarily be smooth sailing for Christie is in pleasing the most conservative sector of the Republican Party, according to Adubato. “I think there will be a lot of people in the Republican Party disappointed tonight,” he said. “I think Chris Christie is going to have a problem with the right wing of the Republican Party on gay rights issues, on certain other issues.”