The patriotic music played. The old-timey photos of Nancy and Ronnie showed on the big screens next to four American flags. And then he arrived, uncharacteristically punctual, escorting Nancy Reagan.
Once he got to the mic he was vintage Christie -- forceful with his prepared remarks, deft with the questions and, well, somewhat coy when it came to answering whether he was running for president. He never really said "no," but the answer he gave -- with a dose of awww, shucks, I'm just a Jersey boy -- was adored by the crowd.
My full story from the speech is here. We'll see what tomorrow brings. One thing's for sure: No one is talking about Perry or Palin or Mitt or Michele tonight.
Back home, here's what New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman John Wisniewski had to say:
"The Chris Christie on display at the Reagan Library stands in stark contrast to the inflammatory, bullying rhetoric that is an every day fact of life for New Jerseyans. When he’s not appearing at staged taxpayer funded campaign events and belittling middle class New Jerseyans, he’s traveling the country fanning the flames of presidential ambitions.
The Governor spoke about the need for a strong American economy to maintain our position in the world, but New Jersey’s economy continues to sputter along after nearly two years of Chris Christie’s lackluster policies with an unemployment rate above the national average.
Anyone can travel around and talk about being exceptional, but I always thought the best way to demonstrate that was to actually be exceptional in the job you have. This isn’t the first time Chris Christie has sought a new job before finishing his current one. The Governor needs to decide whether he wants to satisfy his ego or do the job he was elected to. He can't have it both ways.
The people of New Jersey are waiting."
Now if you'll excuse me -- I have a plate of waffles that I need to devour from an all-night IHOP somewhere in mid-central California. This non-campaign trail is exhausting, and I'm famished.