Introducing your convention keynote speaker, Chris Christie

In this June 14 photo, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sign a white steel beam as they visit the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's World Trade Center site for a briefing on construction progress, in New York. Obama gave the Democratic convention's keynote address in 2004. Christie will deliver the Republicans' keynote address in two weeks. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

For our full story about the keynote speech in today's paper, click here.

And the consolation prize goes to Chris Christie.

Short-listed but passed-over for the vice presidential nomination, Gov. Christie will give the prime-time keynote address at the Republican Convention two weeks from tonight, providing GOP nominee Mitt Romney some Jersey-style support and giving the New Jersey governor the biggest stage of his political career.

Christie has long been considered the Republicans' best choice for keynote speaker because of his national prominence -- and because he provides the party a fresh face and unique voice. Another new Republican on the block, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants, will introduce Christie, GOP officials announced.

This is a huge boost for the first-term governor's career. A young senator from Illinois gave the same speech for his party's convention in 2004; four years later, he became president of the United States.

Christie isn't talking to the local media about his selection but he did a national interview with USA Today, saying: "I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them."

If that sounds dour, no worries. He said his 20-minute address will also touch on his successes dealing with these issues in New Jersey.

Asked about whether he hopes the convention speech will be a springboard for a future presidential campaign, Christie told USA Today: "It's not what you say but what you accomplish."

The New Jersey Republican party is thrilled about the pick. Party chairman Samuel Raia released this statement: "From implementing historic reforms to lower the cost of government, to reforming education to serve every child in our state, to tackling the property tax crisis caused by the Democrat leadership over the last decade, Governor Christie has proven time and time again that he is the transformational leader he said he would be."