Let the Speculation Begin.
New Jersey Republican activists can hardly contain their excitement over the fact that their Governor has been selected to give the all important keynote address at the Republican National Convention. New Jerseyans are bursting with pride over the thought that our Governor will be given the national spotlight and be called upon to articulate the Republican case and cause before the nation and the world. But the reports have not yet been confirmed by either Governor Christie, Governor Romney or the Republican National Committee. According to the Washington Post;
“Republicans say that, contrary to media reports, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Neither the Romney campaign nor the Republican National Committee would confirm those reports.
“You”ll have to stay tuned,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon.
Sources with the campaign say Romney is not prepared to announce any speakers yet. The New Jersey State GOP Committee said they knew nothing about it.
“I’ve gotten no invitation to do anything like that,” Christie told NBC.”
These unconfirmed reports amount to nothing more than speculation but if true, the decision to make Christie the keynote speaker opens the door for additional speculation. So here goes.
If it is true that Christie is the RNC’s 2012 keynote speaker, it will signal the G.O.P.’s obvious desire to highlight the message of a figure who has established a reputation for being blunt about what needs to be done to get our nation on a track to economic responsibility and prosperity. It would also signal the G.O.P.’s desire to appeal to fiscally conservative independent voters, a segment of the voting bloc which could be critical to who wins the presidency in November.
Picking Christie to be the keynote speaker could also be a signal of several other things to come such as who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate. There has been a wide range of Republicans who would have liked to see freshman Florida Congressman Allen West deliver the keynote address. West has proven himself to be a powerfully articulate speaker who inspires the conservative base while also firing up the TEA Party which Romney needs to bolster his standing among. Christie tends to enjoy similar popularity within those same groups but West brings additional positives that Christie doesn’t. Unlike Christie who comes from a state that Republicans feel is so hard to win that they have written it off in most of their campaign plans, Rep. West comes from a critical swing state that is well within the reach of Republicans to win. Additionally, West is African-American, and those two factors would have made West a prime pick for giving the keynote address. But giving that honor to Christie instead of West could be a sign that Mitt Romney has picked a running mate of color and so the need to highlight ethnic diversity during a high profile, primetime, keynote address may not be as necessary as it once was. If true, that person of color who Romney may be ready to pick could very well be former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who many have suggested that Romney is quite enamored with and whom in national polls,leads all other potential vice presidential choices Romney may have.
But to read too much in to any decision would be wrong.
While Chris Christie is liked for the breath of fresh air that his brutal honesty and bluntness brings to the table, his abrasive nature does not fit well with the more diplomatic, less confrontational approach to politics that Mitt Romney is comfortable with. The same goes for West who may seem like a good choice for Vice President for Romney but like Christie, neither man can be described as having the “same personality type” as Mitt, a factor that Anne Romney once described as a key consideration in her husbands decison on who he will nominate for Vice President. Yet there is no denying that Christie’s approach has been popular and as such, there may be no other suitably prominent role for Christie to play in the Romney campaign other than allowing him to be a surrogate speaker and what more suitable platform can there be for such a surrogate than keynote speaker?
This of course does not leave West out in the cold. Many other primetime slots are still available. They include the highly coveted opportunity to be tapped as the lucky individual who gets to make the speech that nominates the presidential candidate, a role that West would fit quite well.
All of this is speculation though. The only thing that is not speculation however is the fact that if it is true that Christie is the keynote speaker, you can rest assured that he is definitely out of the running to be Romney’s Vice President.
On that front, until now, speculation about who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate has of late been superseded only by the speculation over when he will publicly announce who that person will be. Today’s Wall Street Journal writes;
“It appears unlikely now that Mr. Romney will name his selection before departing next week for a trip abroad.”
At the same time, The New York Daily News writes;
“Sources close to the Romney campaign told the Daily News the working plan has been to announce the pick after the Olympic Games, which begin next week and conclude Aug. 12 — two weeks before the Republican convention in Tampa.”
Yet amid that media speculation comes a Tuesday tweet from National Review political reporter and CNBC contributor Robert Costa in which he writes:
Meanwhile, in an interview taped for ABC earlier today, Ann Romney claims that her husband is “not quite there yet” on a final decision regarding who he will nominate for Vice President.
Not long after that interview, while attending a town-hall event in Bowling Green, Ohio, Mitt Romney answered a a question from the audience regarding who he will pick by confirming that he has “not chosen the person” who will be his Vice President.
What this all means is anyone’s guess but to confuse matters even more, as noted in a previous White House 2012 post, Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has decided to retool his website, TimPawlenty.com.
Currently TimPawlenty.com has been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read “Please come back later.” Normally such an event would not mean very much but at a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal. In this particular case though, having been a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw’s decision to finally retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit it, appears at the same time that Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.
Coincidence? Speculation? Maybe. Maybe not.
You’re guess is as good mine.
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