Chris Christie to deliver GOP convention keynote

Joel Roberts

Chris Christie (Mel Evans/AP)
Chris Christie (Mel Evans/AP)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been selected to deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention later this month in Tampa.

Christie told USA TODAY in an interview posted on the newspaper's website early Tuesday morning that his speech will focus more on making the case for electing Mitt Romney than on bashing President Obama.

The tough-talking first-term governor said he's been "grinding away" on the speech in the past few days since Romney contacted him about the highly coveted convention role.

[Political junkie? Sign up for the Yahoo! News Daily Ticket newsletter today]

"I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them," Christie said.

Party leaders will officially announce the decision later Tuesday.

In a statement obtained by New Jersey's Star Ledger newspaper, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Christie "has proven how bold Republican leadership gets results. He has fearlessly tackled his state's most difficult challenges, while looking out for hardworking taxpayers. He is a leader of principle and conviction, and I am excited to hear him address the Republican National Convention as our keynote speaker."

Christie considered making a 2012 presidential run of his own, but ultimately decided against it and instead became one of Romney's earliest big-name supporters.