Christie to Deliver Keynote at GOP Convention

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By Mark Preston, CNN Political Director

Washington (CNN) — The tough talking governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, will deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention, a senior GOP official told CNN.

The keynote is one of the highest profile speaking slots during convention week.

Christie seriously considered running for president himself, a deliberation fueled, in part, by the urging of deep-pocketed Republican donors. He ultimately decided against it and endorsed Mitt Romney in Oct. 2011. Christie’s endorsement was a big “political get” for the former Massachusetts governor during a contentious time in the Republican primary.

The New Jersey governor is a favorite among many conservatives for his street fighting style and willingness to challenge his political enemies. At times, Christie’s outspokenness has caused controversy, but he is not known for backing down. On the campaign trail, Christie has been a vocal defender and advocate for Romney.

The long rumored decision to have Christie deliver the keynote address was first reported by USA Today early Tuesday. Christie gave the newspaper an interview outlining his speech. The GOP official confirmed to CNN that Christie would deliver the keynote address. An official announcement was expected to be made later in the morning.

Christie was elected in 2009 when he defeated incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. Previously, Christie served as the U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey during President George W. Bush’s administration.

Several other well known Republicans will also speak at the convention including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

The convention will take place over four days later this month in Tampa, Florida, where Romney will officially receive the GOP presidential nomination and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan the vice presidential nomination.