Chris Christie Out As VP Candidate, But In As Keynote Speaker? [AUDIO]
If published, but unconfirmed reports are accurate, presumptive Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will not pick New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to be his Vice Presidential running mate, but Christie will get his moment in the white hot spotlight.
The reports say Christie will deliver the keynote address next month at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley says, "This is a big deal. It's a great honor, but it's also a 'make or break' kind of speech. This is the sort of thing where if it doesn't go well and you don't meet expectations you could be written off politically."
Christie is considered by many to be a remarkably effective and engaging public speaker, but Woolley says anybody could fall flat on such a grand stage.
"Jesse Jackson had his moment and blew it, talked too long (and) sweated on national TV," explains Woolley. "Mario Cuomo had his chance, talked too long (and) bored people to death. Another one who blew it was Al Gore. Do you remember Al Gore's long-winded speech? People listened to that and said, 'I never want to hear another word out of that guy, ever!'"
There is enormous upside for Christie in delivering the keynote address.
Woolley says, "If you do well and you exceed expectations and you make a good impression on that national audience it positions you for that next presidential election…This is important to Chris Christie and his aspirations, if he has them for 2016."
Very recent history shows that knocking a keynote address out of the park can be an unbelievable catapult explains Woolley, "You had (Barack) Obama in 2004 give that address and everybody said, 'Who is this guy? He's great! We can't wait to hear more from him.'"
The State of New Jersey would get a boost as well if Christie delivers the address says Woolley.
"I think it completely changes the image of the state. It puts New Jersey at the center of things. That doesn't mean some people aren't going to be (figuratively) throwing eggs and tomatoes, but I think it makes New Jersey a player. It makes New Jersey's people players."