The man some Republicans once hoped would be their party's 2012 presidential nominee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will instead deliver the keynote speech at the national convention that will make Mitt Romney the GOP's official standard-bearer.
Christie has won plaudits from Republicans for an everyman style, for taking on the New Jersey teachers unions, and for generally not suffering lightly those he considers fools — whether they're voters, members of the media or even some members of his own party.
An excerpt from Tuesday's announcement by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus:
"As governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie has proven how bold Republican leadership gets results. He has fearlessly tackled his state's most difficult challenges, while looking out for hardworking taxpayers. He is a leader of principle and conviction, and I am excited to hear him address the Republican National Convention as our keynote speaker. Governor Christie will make the case for America's Comeback Team and will rally our party and country in support of the Romney-Ryan ticket."
The RNC did not announce when Christie will speak during the four-day convention in Tampa, Fla.
The committee has announced that on the convention's final night — Aug. 30 — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another young star in the party, will introduce Romney as the GOP nominee.
For those who wanted to see Christie, 49, on the national GOP ticket, his role as convention keynoter may only serve to remind them why they wanted him as their nominee in the first place.
The first-term governor was viewed as something of a potential savior of his party during a period last year when there was widespread Republican dissatisfaction with the field of candidates running for the GOP nomination.
Despite his repeated assertions that he didn't view himself as ready for the White House, speculation persisted that he might run. Christie finally put all of that to an end when he announced last October that he wouldn't make a White House bid.
Known for his physical stoutness as much as his larger-than-life personality, Christie is one of his party's fastest-rising stars. He was an early Romney supporter in the Republican primaries.
Romney had supported Christie in his 2009 campaign to become governor, in which Christie, a former federal prosecutor, defeated then-Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat.
The RNC news release also quotes Christie:
"It is an honor to be able to address our party and our nation in just a few short weeks. The challenges we face as a country are great and require the honesty and boldness of the Romney-Ryan team. We have an opportunity in Tampa to make clear that if we tell each other the hard truths, tackle the big problems and make bold choices, we will see America's comeback."
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