TAMPA — The top speakers at the Republican convention — Ann Romney, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan — have all gotten enthusiastic receptions inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum. But a number of observers have noticed that those receptions, while heartfelt, were not exactly deafening. In other words, while the speakers were well received, the delegates didn’t blow the roof off the joint.
It turns out one of those speakers, Christie, noticed it, too. Speaking at a breakfast meeting of the South Carolina delegation, Christie said, “Let’s be loud tonight. I’ve been a little disappointed it hasn’t been louder on that floor the last couple of nights. You guys can be louder than that. C’mon — don’t leave any gas in the tank. Tonight’s the night to let it out. We’ve got to let Mitt hear us going wild tonight.”
What does the — for lack of a better phrase — lack of roaring mean? I asked Christie after the breakfast. “I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, I just thought it would be — listen, it was really loud when I was up there on Tuesday night, but I just think in general throughout the whole time — I think Mrs. Romney got great reaction, I feel like I got great reaction, and I feel like Condi got great reaction last night, as did Congressman Ryan. But I’ve been through the whole evening, I think you have to build to that. I don’t think we can wait to get enthusiastic until Gov. Romney gets out there. I think we have to build that enthusiasm all night.”
The important thing, Christie stressed, was that Republicans “show the country our enthusiasm for our nominee.” But so far, at least in terms of demonstrations inside the convention hall, that enthusiasm has not been overwhelming.