Chris Christie, "the sometimes abrasive but always entertaining governor of New Jersey," in the words of the Associated Press, will serve as the keynote speaker later this month at the Republican National Convention in Florida. The news was first reported by USA Today, according to the Washington Post.
The gathering in the key swing state, scheduled for August 27, will yield an official decision from the Republican Party's delegates on nominees for the presidential and vice presidential ticket. Presumptive nominee Mitt Romney last week announced that US representative Paul Ryan will be his running mate.
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Christie, a former federal prosecutor, has a reputation for his "take-no-prisoners style," according to The New York Times. However, his relatively moderate stance on social issues allows him to tread a crucial line between loyal party members and independents, according to the Washington Post's Rosalind S. Helderman. Christie himself was considered a serious contender for the role of Romney's vice president, according to the Times.
The Post's Helderman wrote that the full roster of speakers for the convention — which excludes the polarizing Sarah Palin — is a sign of careful design:
"...[an] attempt by the GOP to highlight voices that will excite party loyalists in the campaign hall while excluding those that could turn-off independent voters watching on television at home."
Florida Senator Marco Rubio will also take a prominent role at the convention: introducing Romney before his speech to accept the GOP nomination, the Miami Herald reported. As recently as last week, both Rubio and Christie were considered potential Romney running mates, according to the Herald and MSNBC.