New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered the keynote address Tuesday at the Republican National Convention, talking leadership and emphasizing change.
He eventually mentioned presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, too.
Christie took his sweet time getting around to mentioning the nominee, but treated the crowd to a warmer, homier version than his traditional caricature.
Following a heartfelt speech by Ann Romney, which gave him a friendly audience already riding on a high, he more or less kept them on it with his "we did it" theme:
An unabashedly brash, pugnacious politician unafraid to tangle with hecklers at town hall meetings - or on vacation at the Jersey Shore - Christie instead started out with a gentle touch, evoking warm images of his mother and his family.
He never mentioned President Obama, and took 16 minutes until he said Mitt Romney's name, focusing most of the time on his own story and track record.
He cited New Jersey’s success - under his leadership, of course - as an example of winning the ideological battle between Republicans and Democrats.
“When I came into office, I could continue on the same path that led to wealth, jobs and people leaving the state, or I could do the job the people elected me to do - to do the important things,” he said, noting that he hails from a heavily Democratic state.
“There were those who said it couldn’t be done. The problems were too big, too broken to fix. But we were on a path we could no longer afford to follow.”
“We did it," he crowed more than once. "We ended an era of absentee leadership without purpose or principle in New Jersey. Now it’s time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House.”