TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork) -- Chris Christie lived up to the hype Tuesday night, delivering a rousing keynote address at the Republican National Convention.
New Jersey's governor criticized the nation's leaders as those who have "decided it is more important to be popular" than do "what's required," while touting Republican nominee Mitt Romney as a man who would "tell us the hard truths" to "make our country great again."
"America needs Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and we need them right now," Christie said to big applause.
It was Christie's big night and the Republicans loved him, his words, his red meat speech and his authenticity.
"We are not afraid. We are taking out country back," Christie said.
Christie, a former prosecutor, in a sense was prosecuting the case for the American people against President Barack Obama and his handling of the country and the economy, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported.
He particularly emphasized leadership in his speech and had strong words for the president.
"You see, Mr. President, real leaders don't follow polls. Real leaders change polls. That's what we need to do now. Change polls through the power of our principles. Change polls through the strength of our convictions," Christie said.
Christie used the example of making tough choices in New Jersey -- choices, he said, that were not always popular.
"We ended an era of absentee leadership without purpose or principle in New Jersey. It's time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House," Christie said.
It was New Jersey that put Romney over the top on Tuesday, giving him the votes to secure the GOP nomination.
Christie also starkly contrasted the world view of Republicans and Democrats, saying his party had "to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of government," while adding Democrats "believe that the American people don't want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government."
"I know this simple truth and I'm not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America," Christie said.
Saying that "Washington is out of excuses," Christie further declared "Leadership delivers. Leadership counts. Leadership matters" before calling Romney a nominee who would tell "the truth" and "lead with conviction."
He wrapped up his speech by saying that there was "not time left to waste" in standing up for America's future.
"Tonight, we stand up for Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States. And, together, we stand up once again for American greatness," he said.
Speaking before Christie, Ann Romney sought to humanize her husband and help regular Americans connect with him. She denied reports of a so-called "storybook marriage," explaining that all the bumps in life they endured made it a "real marriage."
"In the story books I read, there were never long, long, rainy afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once and those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or breast cancer," Mrs. Romney said.
And she asked America to give her husband a chance to lead the country.
"I can't tell you what will happen in the next four years, I can only stand here tonight as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American and make you this solemn commitment -- this man will not fail this man will not let us down this man will lift up America," Mrs. Romney said.
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