TAMPA, Fla. -- It was the most anticipated speech of the night: a promised stemwinder from the GOP's regular-guy teller of hard truths, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
But a day after Christie's speech, the reviews turned harshly negative.
"Christie's flop," blared a headline on the Politico website.
“He doesn’t mention Mitt Romney’s name until the 16-minute mark,” lamented the New York Daily News.
“Romney was almost an afterthought," wrote Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast, a University at Buffalo graduate. "There wasn’t a personal line about Mitt. It was as though the two had never met."
The speech was as pugilistic as can be expected from Christie, but it was entirely devoid of humor, which is shocking considering that Christie is sort of the Ralph Kramden of Republican politics.
And to many, the long biographical passages and the ending call to battle made it sound like Christie was campaigning for himself.
“Chris Christie accepts the nomination a bit early," a Salon article noted wryly.
Will the performance hurt Christie? Probably not.
After all, Bill Clinton's big applause line at the 1988 Democratic National Convention was "and in conclusion," and four years later he was elected president.
Christie got plenty of national attention for the speech, and for a politician, that's always good.
"There’s no doubt in my mind that he did a huge amount of good for the three most important people in his life – he, himself, and him," said Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times. "Whether he did any good for Mitt Romney is less certain."