New Jersey’s governor found himself in a room full of emotional people Tuesday after Ann Romney delivered a heartwarming speech to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. But he plowed through his address anyway, attacking Democrats and the Obama administration with the bravado that has come to define him—and he threw in a few touches of warmth and humanity to round out the keynote.
‘A New Jersey Republican?’
Christie opened his speech the same way Barack Obama started his now-famous 2004 speech to the DNC: “This stage and this moment are very improbable for me,” Christie said. But then the New Jersey governor took a different tone and cracked a joke instead of discussing how he embodied the American Dream. “A New Jersey Republican?” he joked—what are the chances?
‘I Am Her Son’
Christie spoke passionately about his late mother, who “spoke the truth bluntly, directly, and without much varnish.” “I am,” he said, before pausing, “her son.” Christie’s daughters also got giddy when he mentioned them, which was adorable.
Respect > Love
The best advice Christie’s mother ever gave him, he said, was that in life you sometimes have to choose between love and respect—and that he should choose respect. “Love without respect was always fleeting,” he said his mother told him, but “respect could grow into real and lasting love.” Christie then lambasted “our leaders today”—ahem, President Obama—who “have become paralyzed by [a] desire to be loved.”
What Matters Is What We Get Done
The least appreciated line of the night: “It doesn’t matter how we got here; there’s enough blame to go around. (Pause) What matters is what we do now.” But Christie didn’t give it enough oomph, so the crowd wasn’t sure if it was their turn to make noise. He made up for it on the next applause line: “It’s possible to work together, achieve principled compromise, and get results for the people who gave us these jobs in the first place!” The crowd loved it, further proof that it matters not only what you say but how you say it.
I Wear My Sunglasses at Night … and Indoors?
After Christie bellowed that “Washington is out of excuses!” the camera cut to what seemed to be a young couple in the crowd: a good-looking brunette and a sweaty guy trying to be cool by wearing sunglasses on his head. Please, sir, tell us how you scored your hot date to the convention.
‘Real Leaders Change Polls’
The real “line of the speech” award goes to this attack on Obama, the most direct and sound-bite worthy of them all: “You see, Mr. President,” Christie said, looking, on cue, directly into the camera, “real leaders don’t follow polls; real leaders change polls!”
Masters of Our Own Domain! (Er, Destiny)
“We have never been victims of destiny,” Christie charged, “we have always been masters of our own.” The phrase “masters of our own” of course brings to mind the great Seinfeld episode “The Contest,” but the real reason we’re showing you this clip is because a woman in the audience has the best—seriously, the best—golden elephant belt buckle ever.
A Guaranteed Standing Ovation
To close out the night, Christie asked the audience to stand up before he was finished speaking. That way, we suppose, he ensured that he received a standing ovation. Which, of course, warrants another Seinfeld reference …