Although it likely means that he is out of consideration for the Republican nomination for Vice-President, word is getting around political circles that New Jersey governor Chris Christie may be giving the keynote speech at this year’s GOP convention in Tampa. It is nearly always the case that the vice-presidential nominee speaks on a separate night from the keynote speaker, which is what gives an indication that Christie is not Romney’s pick for VP.
Christie recently broke with tradition recently by speaking out against the War on Drugs, calling it a failure. He is also in his first term as governor of the Garden State, but he is considered an exciting new face who does not pull any punches in his opinions or views on issues. Christie considered a run for the GOP presidential nomination this time around, but decided against it. This was despite several accounts in the news media that he was ready to throw his hat into the ring.
Giving the largest speech at any national convention can raise the stature of the presenter significantly. This might perfectly position Christie for a run at the Republican nomination himself in 2016. One needs only look at what happened to the popularity of Barack Obama after giving the Democratic keynote speech in 2004. For this reason, although it would appear that although he is no longer in consideration to become Mitt Romney’s VP candidate, Governor Chris Christie is this column’s political winner of the week.
The loser of the week award has to go to Mitt Romney for failing to clear up issues surrounding his refusal to release his tax returns or his time at Bain Capital. The former Massachusetts governor may be reticent to have his financial dealings and tax burden for those two years announced to the world, but unless there is something really damning in them (which is possible, though unlikely), he is likely doing more damage to his election by not releasing the documents. This behavior has already caused the Obama campaign to begin using the line “What is he hiding?” in discussions of his largest general election opponent. One skill that Ronald Reagan had was to confront issues directly and get past them quickly. Mitt Romney may be wise to learn the lessons of “The Teflon President.”
However, had Mitt Romney selected Christie as his running mate, it is possible that New Jersey’s governor may have deflected the attention of political media from tax and business issues to Christie. Whether this would have been good or bad for Romney remains a question. After all, the inclusion of Sarah Palin to McCain’s ticket in 2008 drew more attention to the Alaska governor that it did to the Arizona senator.