New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has been dominating the national political conversation since a landslide re-election win last week, will be in Philadelphia Thursday to give the city a piece of his mind.
Christie is the featured speaker at political watchdog Committee of Seventy's annual breakfast, slated for 8 a.m. at the Hyatt at The Bellevue.
"We are nonpartisan and we don't endorse any candidate for any office, but we like to invite to our breakfast speakers who are going to be provocative and entertaining," Committee of Seventy vice president and policy director Ellen Mattleman Kaplan said. "We want people to walk away thinking, 'That was a blast. I'm glad I went to that.' And if people can remember what the speaker said, that's a great way to spend the morning."
If nothing else, Christie has certainly proved to be a memorable wordsmith, whether he's telling a disgruntled schoolteacher to "do [her] job" or responding to an off-topic question from the press by branding the reporter "a complete idiot."
As Committee of Seventy doesn't accept government money, the breakfast is the organization's only yearly fundraiser. The group swap between Democratic and Republican speakers annually in an attempt to preserve Seventy's nonpartisan nature. Past orators have included Vice President Joe Biden, the late U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and Christie himself, who spoke three years ago.
"I think, as we know from the last time when he came in 2010, Chris Christie speaks what's on his mind," Kaplan said. She's doesn't know exactly what topics his talk will cover -- that's Christie's choice -- but he will also field questions from audience members.
"The theme of the breakfast is leadership and demanding real leadership, and we came up with that theme before we came up with who the speaker was going to be," Kaplan said.
According to Kaplan, it's an apt time to have such a discussion. And, according to many pundits, Christie might be the best person to lead that discussion, as he may be one day leading the country.
"Right now, we're looking forward to some pretty important elections," Kaplan said. "Obviously, next year is the governor's race in Pennsylvania, then [Philadelphia] mayor and City Council in 2015, then, the year after that, the U.S. Senate seat and, obviously, the president. So it's at a time when people are feeling pretty disgruntled about the state of leadership in Washington, D.C.
"We want to invite a conversation about real leadership. As we look ahead to these elections, what kind of qualities are we seeking in the next leaders and what issues are on people's minds? We really just want to jump start a conversation about leadership -- and we hope people will be talking about it as they leave the breakfast."