A subdued Keynote address from Christie
It was not your typical keynote address from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday night.
Mitt Romney's name wasn't mentioned until the last third of his speech and at times, he seemed to be touting his own record as governor more than promoting Romney's candidacy.
But there's no one "right way" to deliver a keynote address, and the crowd seemed to enjoy much of what he had to say.
Absent from the speech was the kind of red meat criticism of Obama that would have fired up the crowd to a fever pitch (think Zell Miller at the 2004 convention). This was obviously the way Romney wanted it -- a risky strategy considering that the Obama campaign has all but accused the GOP nominee of being a murderer, a felon, a tax dodge, and a greedy rich guy who enjoys putting ordinary folk out of work.
Much of what Christie had to say was compelling enough anyway:
We've never been a country to shy away from the truth. History shows that we stand up when it counts and it's this quality that has defined our character and our significance in the world.
I know this simple truth and I'm not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America.
Let's be clear with the American people tonight. Here's what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats.
We believe in telling hard working families the truth about our country's fiscal realities. Telling them what they already know - the math of federal spending doesn't add up.
With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of government.
They believe that the American people don't want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government.
They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them.
We believe in telling seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements.
We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren.
Seniors are not selfish.
They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren. So they prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the cynical purpose of winning the next election.
Their plan: whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power.
We believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed to put students first so that America can compete.
Teachers don't teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children.
We believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what's best for our nation's future - demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.
They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense.
They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children.
They believe in teacher's unions.
We believe in teachers.
President Obama was not mentioned once by name during the entire 25 minute speech.
I don't believe in name calling, but not giving a laundry list of the president's failures was a mistake. Most of the voters don't have a clue how incompetently our government has been run the last 4 years, and in order to make his case effectively, Mitt Romney and GOP surrogates are going to have to drive home the point that this is a failed presidency. By design, Christie didn't go there.
There is no doubt that criticizing someone who is well liked by the American people could be counterproductive. But it is just as risky to go easy on him. Perhaps Romney, in his acceptance speech, will find a way to bridge that divide.
But with what he had to work with, Christie did very well.
(Watch related American Thinker Video selection: "GOP Convention: Chris Christie")