ELECTIONS

Christie Shrugs Off Critics of Keynote Speech, Relishes RNC Spotlight

Gov. Christie took criticism back home of his keynote speech in stride, saying he was really happy with the speech and the reaction to it. “With me, there will always be people who are detractors,” said the governor. “It’s just the way it is with me. It’s the nature of my personality, So if I start worrying about that, I’ll be in rough shape.”

Christie continued to make the rounds of important states on behalf of the present, or perhaps, as some have suggested, the future Republican nominee for president. Christie says New Jersey earned its high-profile spot.

“It’s been a great week for New Jersey Republicans. I mean we were front and center of attention here at a national convention here for the first time in my memory, and I think that tells people what I was saying Tuesday night. It’s the power of our ideas, and the fact that we’re executing on our ideas and people see that as an example.”

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This week has been a showcase for the Garden State, attracting major speakers at breakfast briefings, like former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu and RNC chair Reince Preibus, and the great position on the convention floor.

According to Republican National Committeeman Bill Palatucci, New Jersey’s prominent spot on the convention floor is a rare occurrence. “Usually for such a blue state, we’re tucked way back in the corner but as anyone saw, we were right there front and center, which is, again, a nice recognition of the governor’s leadership,” said Palatucci.

In front of the South Carolina delegation, the governor got lots of laughs retelling the story of his first meeting with Mitt and Anne Romney in New Jersey, then worked the room for another half hour, impressing one local lawmaker.

“Oh, he’s fantastic,” enthused South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott. “I mean he’s clear, he’s crisp and he has a message that resonates it seems across the country. So it looks like he can have a future in 2020 after eight years of Romney. Then he can show us what he really has.”

This is a governor who’s become adept at dismissing his critics and this week is no exception. He says they will be far from his mind as he takes his seat, front and center, for Mitt Romney’s speech. How good has the week been for Chris Christie? A large sand sculpture of Mitt Romney shaking hands with Chris Christie will be unveiled at a midnight beach party.

Reporting from Tampa, David Cruz files this report.