* Christie: Believe the hype. The New Jerseyan’s speech was electrifying and showed why he has to be considered one of America’s most talented political performers today. With gruff panache, Christie first demanded the teleprompters in front of the podium be removed, then regaled the crowd with the story of how he bullied the legislature and unions into submission in his state. It was funnier and more riveting than any account of a state budgeting process has any right to be, if highly self-serving. (Christie’s summary of his first budget presentation to the legislature: “I fixed your problem, you can thank me later, have a nice day.”) Christie also made a forceful case against the president’s comment Friday that “the private sector is doing fine.” Obama, Christie charged, is blaming the nation’s mayors and governors for his own failure to create jobs, which ought to happen as a result of an expanding economy, “not hiring more people for government work.”
* Jindal: Better than you think. Poor Bobby Jindal is still trying to live down his disastrous national debut in a widely mocked speech responding to an Obama address in 2009. But his speech in Chicago showed he can’t be so easily dismissed, and was enough to power him to a fifth-place finish in the straw poll — not bad for a lesser-known pol from far outside the Midwest. Jindal’s speech was lively, funny and packed with sharply partisan red meat. Like Christie, he showed flair as a storyteller, recounting with slapstick verve his frustration at trying to deal with the Obama administration to clean up the oil spill on his state’s shore.
* McDonnell: Just boring enough? The Virginian chose to ditch the podium and pace the stage as he spoke, which, combined with his Southern accent, gave him the mien of a televangelist. But rather than riling up the crowd, his speech had a laid-back vibe and failed to make a strong impression on attendees.