Outside the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the hurricane was pretty mild. Inside, Governor Chris Christie created a rousing good time for the approximately 500 Republican delegates, alternate delegates, and honorary delegates.
The best line of the night was when the governor told us to get the hell off the beach, resulting in both laughter and applause. Needless to say, the crowd loved Christie and Christie loved the crowd. Long after his talk he was still working the crowd, shaking hands and having his picture taken.
His key points were that New Jersey is on a roll and, with the help of all people, it will once again become a truly great state. The theme: New Jersey is back! He noted how many thought he was a bit crazy when early in the game he backed Mitt Romney. His decision was truly vindicated when the New Jersey delegation got a prime location on the floor and he was selected to give the keynote speech on Tuesday.
And he is ready for his speech. He has been practicing it over and over. If someone asks if he is nervous, his answer will be: are you kidding? You know me. But he did not give us any hint as to what the speech contains.
He did say that the Democrats already had their response to his speech written. As soon as his speech was over, they would hit the send button.
Then I got comments from a number of dignitaries.
Former Governor Tom Kean said: "It is a wonderful thing. New Jersey is now in the center of things." He was extremely pleased with the direction that things were moving. "It is wonderful what hard work can do," he said.
Sam Raia, the NJGOP chair, said that we could be proud of New Jersey. New Jersey has shown leadership, deservedly so. New Jersey is once again leading the country. He said that many people who voted for President Obama were looking for hope and change and were terribly disappointed. It is time to move on and "Mitt Romney will take us in that direction," he said.
Anthony Bucco, a state senator from Morris County, said that the governor was right on target. He led and the people responded. New Jersey is moving forward. When asked about the election, he said that Democrats had a big disappointment in President Obama. Promises were made and not kept. This is a special election for America. Jobs and the economy are at stake.
Pat Kramer, former mayor of Paterson and one time gubernatorial candidate, also felt that the governor showed tremendous leadership. He also praised all of the hard work done by many in New Jersey to bring the message to the people to get Christie elected.
Montclair’s own, Michael Ahren, reporter for New Jersey news told me: As usual, Chris Christie was delightful and refreshing and delivered more sound bites that he could possibly put on TV tomorrow.He particularly liked the "get off the beach" comment.
While he does not advocate for one side or the other, he felt that Romney was an intelligent man. He said Romney looks presidential and that he imagines the convention will be successful. He does think that Romney needs to tell people how he is going to create 12 million new jobs and not just tell us that he is going to do it.