Gov. Chris Christie isn’t the only New Jerseyan with a major role at the RNC in Tampa Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus was born in the Garden State. He visited the New Jersey delegation this morning and said at a time when people are hungry for authenticity in their leaders, President Barack Obama isn’t real any more.
“He’s not who he said he was and there’s nothing he can do to put the paste back in the tube. The 2008 Barack Obama who was going to carpet the world, that’s not Barack Obama today,” Priebus said. “He promised to carpet the world. He gave us a plate of dog food.”
Priebus has presided over this Republican convention. Born in New Jersey, a resident of Netcong until age 7, he moved to Wisconsin where he, Paul Ryan and Scott Walker are now the young ones firing up Republicans.
“This is not your daddy’s Democrat we’ve got in the White House,” Priebus said. “This is an unabashed leftist Democrat, European style Democrat that we could ever have in the White House and we have to defeat Barack Obama to save America.”
Ryan last night seemed to wow the Republicans in the hall as he told his version of the story of the Obama administration and fended off concerns over his own plan for Medicare. “The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare and we’re going to stop it,” Ryan said.
New Jersey Republicans were pleased with the speech, saying he touched on the topics they wanted to hear and included humor and warmth in his address.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean said, “I thought it was a phenomenal speech. He was enthusiastic, he had energy, he had real solutions and he had some real humor.”
Assemblyman Jon Bramnick said Ryan showed maturity, which he found impressive.
Republican Strategist Roger Bodman also had praise for Ryan. “I thought one of the best lines was those kids that graduate from college oftentimes burdened with student loans sitting in their parents’ house staring at, as he called it, the faded Obama poster on the wall, wondering what happened to all the hopes and dreams that this president said he was going to deliver for us.”
Former Paterson Mayor Pat Kramer liked the humor in the speech. “And the music line, teasing Gov. Romney about the kind of music he likes. That line I bet we hear tonight in reverse,” he said. “That in our White House, we’re not going to listen to that nonsense, we’re going to listen to this.”
Ryan’s speech changed Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini’s mind. “I always thought of Paul Ryan as kind of a policy wonk and he just, in my opinion, came off very warm and the real deal,” she said.
Assemblywoman Donna Simon agreed. “I thought it was energizing, I thought he said all the right things,” she said.
Alternate Delegate Nancy Brown said, “He touched almost every topic that I wanted to hear about.”
At a convention where so much of the messaging has been repetitive, Ryan’s speech was fresh and sounded original. Tonight it’s Mitt Romney’s turn.
Michael Aron reports from St. Petersburg, Fla.