Christie says critics misunderstood point of keynote

TAMPA, Fla. – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pushed back Wednesday morning against the instant analysis from the pundit class that his keynote speech was a “me-note” speech, aimed more at promoting himself than Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president.

It wasn’t really his mission to pump up Romney, Christie told a joint breakfast meeting of the Pennsylvania and New Hampshire delegations.

“I thought my job last night was to lay out both the stakes in this election and the choice in this election,” Christie said. “As it turned out, with Mrs. Romney going first, it freed me up…to put the choice in even more general terms than I was originally going to do.”

He told the crowd that Ann Romney did an excellent job talking about her husband as a person, his character and qualities. “She could talk to all of us in ways no one else can,” he said.

“What the keynote speech is supposed to do, is to lay out a vision for the party,” Christie said. “What do we stand for? What are our principles? What do we believe, and what do they believe? And that’s….two very different visions of America’s future…we’re about telling the truth. We’re about facing up to those hard truths that need to be faced up to that haven’t been faced up to by either party for a long time. We’re about a party who today recognizes that someone’s got to be responsible, that someone’s got to look the American people in the eye and tell them, this is how bad off things are from a fiscal perspective in our country – and we better get it together, because we’re running out of time.”

For the record, Christie mentioned Romney’s name seven times during his speech. In 2004, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama mentioned John Kerry 14 times during his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, though of course nobody remembers it as anything other than a vision speech with a healthy dose of self promotion that launched him enroute to the White House.