Israel speech fuels veep buzz

At a press conference last week, the gov rocked a pin on his lapel -- the New Jersey flag and Israeli flag, flapping together. I asked him about it.

Christie said it was from the New Jersey-Israel Commission, and "there's no greater, deeper meaning to the pin other than this is the one I chose to wear this week."

But three nights before, in a closed-door New York speech, Christie spoke to a regional meeting of AIPAC, the dominant pro-Israel lobbying organization in the U.S. And as the text of that speech leaked out, the conservativemedia has seen a bunch of "greater, deeper meaning."

The Weekly Standard posted a story last week headlined with a quote it particularly liked from the speech: "I admire Israel for the enemies it has made." Writer Daniel Harper said that in the New York speech Christie "articulated a responsible view of America's role in the world." He excerpted these lines:

“America should stand by its friends and its democratic allies, even, and sometimes especially, when it’s unpopular to do so...And you know I know, that it may not be fashionable in some of the chancelleries, the foreign ministries, and salons around the world to talk about why America stands with Israel – but that’s no excuse not to be saying, and saying it loudly...I read a quote from President Franklin Roosevelt which I thought made this point much better than I ever could. He says, ‘Please judge me by the enemies I have made.’ In that same spirit, I would like to say to all of you tonight: I admire Israel for the enemies it has made.”

The governor of New Jersey was hawkish on Iran, as are the Republican presidential candidates. And he spoke of his protecting-America bona fides, having been U.S Attorney of New Jersey during the pursuit of terrorists who killed Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and the prosecution of terrorists convicted for trying to blow up Fort Dix. 

At the Washington Post, long-time Christie backer and conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin concluded: "He came down unequivocally on the side of an internationalist, forward-leaning foreign policy."

This plays well among the many Jewish voters in New Jersey, of course, who tend to fall down on the so-called "pro-Israel" side of Middle Eastern politics. But as talk of a brokered convention heated up again -- with new speculation that Christie could be a last-minute consensus presidential candidate because Mitt Romney has yet to catch fire -- the speech had greater implications.

But more likely, the prospect of VP-candidate Christie looms. A foreign policy address before a Jewish audience in New York in the midst of a presidential campaign will do that. Expect speculation to increase further when Christie takes an official trip to Israel in the spring. 

As Rubin wrote: "Conservative hawks should be very see him on the presidential ticket."