Tonight, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) came out firing on all cylinders and firing up the base with an impassioned assault on the Obama record.
He started off by recounting his improbable election as governor of New Jersey. Then he launched into his attack, which was an attack on the character of President Obama as much as an attack on his policies.
“I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved,” he said. And he backed it up.
Our founding fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity is fleeting and that this country's principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times. Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say yes,’ rather than to say no when ‘no’ is what's required …. Tonight, I say enough.
I say, together, let's make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.
We are beginning to do what is right and what is necessary to make our country great again.
We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America.
Tonight, we choose respect over love.
We are not afraid. We are taking our country back.
And he focused in particular on Obama’s lack of leadership:
Leadership matters ….
There is doubt and fear for our future in every corner of our country.
These feelings are real.
This moment is real.
It's a moment like this where some skeptics wonder if American greatness is over.
How those who have come before us had the spirit and tenacity to lead America to a new era of greatness in the face of challenge.
Not to look around and say "not me," but to say, "YES, ME."
I have an answer tonight for the skeptics and the naysayers, the dividers and the defenders of the status quo.
I have faith in us.
I know we can be the men and women our country calls on us to be.
I believe in America and her history.
There's only one thing missing now. Leadership. It takes leadership that you don't get from reading a poll.
You see, Mr. President - real leaders don't follow polls. Real leaders change polls.
Christie then shifted his thematic to a new theme for the Romney campaign: a “second American Century”:
I want [my children] to live in a second American Century.
A second American Century of strong economic growth where those who are willing to work hard will have good paying jobs to support their families and reach their dreams.
A second American Century where real American exceptionalism is not a political punch line, but is evident to everyone in the world just by watching the way our government conducts its business and everyday Americans live their lives.
A second American Century where our military is strong, our values are sure, our work ethic is unmatched and our Constitution remains a model for anyone in the world struggling for liberty.
Let us choose a path that will be remembered for generations to come. Standing strong for freedom will make the next century as great an American century as the last one.
This is the American way.
We have never been victims of destiny.
We have always been masters of our own.
I won't be part of the generation that fails that test and neither will you.
It's now time to stand up. There's no time left to waste.