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What to expect from Chris Christie tonight [Google+ Hangout]

August 28, 2012|By James Rainey | This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

TAMPA, Fla. -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who many Republicans had hoped would jump into the race for president, will instead give the first big political speech of the Republican National Convention, Tuesday night in prime time.

New Jersey native Mike Memoli, a political writer in the Times’ Washington Bureau, will join me, your Politics Now blog host Jim Rainey, in a Google+ Hangout discussion about what to expect from Christie.

Keynote speeches like the one Christie will deliver can be important introductions for politicians who have ambitions on the national stage. A young senator named Barack Obama wowed the crowd at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. But they need not necessarily be inspiring  -- Bill Clinton’s more than hour-long snoozer in 1988 did not prevent him from coming back to get his party’s nomination in 1992.

Republicans love Christie because he pokes fun at himself, particularly his size and regular-guy style, and he doesn’t take any guff from the opposition, going all-New Jersey on the few opponents who have the temerity to try to interrupt him when he is on a good rhetorical roll.

Christie will be riffing on the Republicans’ theme of the day, “We Built It” -- a retort to President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” admonition. Obama said he was referring to the fact that government builds the infrastructure that helps businesses thrive; Republicans insist he gives no credit to entrepreneurs for the hard work they do and risks they take.

Memoli and I will chat about how Christie can blend all these themes and also present himself in an appealing way — that may set him up for a presidential run in 2016 or 2020.

For the Record, 10:51 a.m. Aug. 28: A headline on an earlier version of this post spelled Gov. Chris Christie's last name as Christe.

james.rainey@latimes.com

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