Buttons All Over RNC Suggest Republicans Already Have Their Man For 2016

TAMPA Fla. (CBSNewYork) – Mitt Romney is now officially the Republican Party’s candidate for president. The roll call of delegates wrapped up early Tuesday evening.

Romney will have the spotlight on Thursday, but on Tuesday night the stage belongs to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie is the big man on campus until Romney takes the podium as he will give the keynote speech, a speaking engagement that could prove to be a springboard to higher office, forcing some to wonder whether the 2016 campaign has already started, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

Christie stopped at “10” during his practice run on the podium for his convention keynote speech because some think it would have taken way too long to count all the way to 2016, when, if Mitt Romney loses to President Barack Obama, Christie is expected to make a run for the White House.

It was clear from what went on on the convention stage Tuesday that the Garden State’s governor clearly plans to use his star turn for some campaign. After he practiced at the podium he brought up his wife, Mary Pat, and did a whole lot of pointing and pantomiming as his personal photographer and videographer snapped him from every possible angle in front of the red, white and blue.

But that’s not all. Somebody, not that there’s any finger pointing here, gave New Jersey’s delegates buttons that say “Chris Christie America’s Governor.”  That’s right, not New Jersey’s governor. They think he’s bigger than that. They think he’s the man for all 50 states.

Even Christie’s brother-in-law, John Foster of Tampa, was in on it.

“I tell ya what, if there ever was a governor who could be governor of America, it would be Chris Christie,” Foster said.

“Of course, well he’s leading the way and leadership is a big element in this campaign, so we’re very proud of our governor we’re showing him off,” added New Jersey GOP National Committee member Bill Palatucci.

“What he’s doing in New Jersey should be seen and done everywhere,” added Summit resident Nancy Munoz.

“He speaks for all Americans. Yes, he does,” said Kathleen Sheridan of Hanover Township.

And never let it be said that those buttons make Christie blush.

“I’m happy they believe it and I think what matters the most is they’re proud of their government again. Remember, I spent seven years as the U.S. Attorney watching New Jersey being incredibly ashamed of its government,” Christie said.

Christie said that since his press staff has done little to lower expectations for the speech he’d better deliver a 20-minute version of the Gettysburg Address or he’ll be in trouble.

Do you think Christie is the man for 2016? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

More From CBS New York

Download Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE