Chris Christie to give keynote address at GOP convention
NEW YORK — Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, will bring his blunt, everyman style of politics to a global stage as the keynote speaker of the Republican National Convention, officials revealed Tuesday.
Christie, who briefly considered running for president last year, will deliver one of the most closely watched speeches of the week.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican rising star who had been considered as a vice presidential nominee for Mitt Romney, will introduce Romney at the convention, officials said.
Tapping the duo for two of the most high-profile moments of the convention will showcase some of the party’s most popular leaders in the hope of appealing to independent and Latino voters.
Christie, a former prosecutor, has become a political sensation by discarding the usual pleasantries in favor of a brash and sometimes abrasive approach to governing. At town hall meetings, he often argues with his constituents.
That style has earned him the enmity of some adversaries, including many of the state’s public schoolteachers, who have accused him of attacking their profession and pushing through antiunion legislation.
In an interview with USA Today, which first confirmed his role as the keynote speaker, Christie said he would bring his usual style to the speech.
“I’ll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we’re in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them,’’ Christie said.
Rubio, a first-term senator and a Cuban-American, is expected to play a critical role helping the Republican Party reach out to Hispanic voters, particularly in the large swing state of Florida. Rubio is a Tea Party conservative who has broad appeal in the state.
Romney campaign TV advows to protect Medicare
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is airing a television ad promising to strengthen Medicare and protect the program for seniors.
An announcer in the ad, released Tuesday, tells older voters that they paid into Medicare for years and the health care program should be there for them when they retire. The ad says President Obama has cut $716 billion from the program to pay for the Democrats’ health care overhaul.
The ad also says Romney and running mate Paul Ryan would protect Medicare benefits and put the program on solid footing. The ad is showing in targeted media markets but the campaign would not provide details.
Democrats have criticized Ryan’s budget proposal, saying it would end Medicare as it now exists. They also have said that Ryan’s budget plan calls for $700 million in Medicare cuts.
‘Back in chains’ commentby Biden angers Republicans
DANVILLE, Va. — Vice President Joe Biden told voters in southern Virginia on Tuesday that Republican Mitt Romney wants to put them ‘‘back in chains,’’ sparking outrage from the GOP campaign.
Addressing a crowd that included hundreds of black people, Biden said Romney wants to get rid of new Wall Street regulations President Obama signed into law after the 2008 financial collapse.
‘‘Unchain Wall Street,’’ Biden said. ‘‘They’re going to put y’all back in chains.’’
Romney’s campaign said the comments marked a ‘‘new low’’ for the Obama campaign.
‘‘The comments made by the vice president of the United States are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama campaign will say and do anything to win this election,’’ said Andrea Saul, Romney’s spokeswoman. ‘‘President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden’s comments.’’
Obama’s campaign stood by Biden, saying the comments were a variation on remarks he makes often about the need to ‘‘unshackle’’ the middle class. The campaign said the metaphor was meant to counter Republican calls to unshackle the private sector from Obama-backed regulations.
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter called the Romney campaign’s outrage ‘‘hypocritical.’’‘‘Let’s return to that ‘substantive’ debate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan promised 72 hours ago, but quickly abandoned,’’ she said in a statement.
The flurry over Biden’s remarks underscored what the Obama team knows is a risk with the vice president — that his penchant for speaking off the cuff can sometimes result in inartful comments.
In a less noticed gaffe Tuesday, he told the crowd he was confident their support would help the Obama-Biden ticket carry North Carolina. Biden was speaking in Virginia.
Still, Obama’s campaign sees Biden as one of its most valuable assets.
The Scranton, Pa., native has a more natural appeal to working-class voters in battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. He also has willingly embraced the traditional vice presidential attack dog role.
Journalists barred as Ryan meets with donors in Vegas
DENVER — Mitt Romney’s campaign is blocking reporters from covering Paul Ryan’s first meeting with donors in Las Vegas.
Tuesday night’s event at The Venetian hotel was expected to draw casino owner and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson.
The decision to block access marks a break from rules recently established by Romney’s campaign.
Reporters usually are allowed to cover President Obama’s fund-raisers when they are held in public venues.
A Romney aide who was not authorized to speak said the event was a ‘‘finance meeting’’ instead of a fund-raiser.
But Ryan attended two Denver-area fund-raisers on Monday night where media coverage also was prohibited.