Christie: Let's face it, Romney probably wishes he didn't make that birth-certificate joke

That was my hunch too. Which, between the two of us, means this is now the official RINO position on Romney’s Birther goof. Henceforth let no man show misgivings lest he be formally dubbed a candy ass, my friends.

If you believe John Avlon, Christie’s speech tonight will be more upbeat than people are expecting:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s keynote address is the substantive center-piece of this first night of the Republican Convention. But contrary to expectations that he will play the traditional role of attack dog, the former U.S. Attorney will instead lay out a positive Republican vision of change for the nation – rooted in policy, biography and his surprisingly bipartisan accomplishments in the Garden State…

Christie’s surprising tack in this speech offers insight into not only his own vision of successful Republican governance, but also Team Romney’s approach to this convention.

Top Romney aide and convention director Russ Schriefer served as a consultant to Christie’s successful gubernatorial campaign and while [he] reviewed the speech – which was written by Christie with input from his communications director Maria Comella and advisor Bill Palatucci – he made no substantive changes. Schriefer and his business partner Stuart Stevens have an arguably better feel for general election audience that a hard-core conservative primary base – this is the national audience they’ve been waiting for.

Interesting. Remember, the first night of the convention is usually devoted to beating up on the incumbent. Nights two and three are reserved for uplift as the ticket introduces itself and lays out its agenda. The whole point of tapping Christie for the keynote, I thought, was so that he could do his tough-guy shtick armed with one-liners about Obama, but it sounds like they want him out there as the Jersey version of Scott Walker instead. I wonder if that’s partly because they’re worried about harsh attacks not playing well side-by-side with hurricane coverage or if the idea all along has been to assemble a theme over three nights that America has serious problems and the new GOP has serious solutions. That makes sense with Ryan in the VP slot now. You’ve got Christie on night one talking about public employee unions and pension reform; you’ve got Ryan on night two talking about the fiscal crisis and entitlement reform; and then you’ve got Romney as the Mr. Wizard managerial problem-solver on night three who’s going to make it all better. It’s a logical progression. Let’s just hope Christie doesn’t sacrifice too many good zingers to make it happen.

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