Christie, Romney Speeches Leave Journos Questioning Meaning of Love, Respect

The stress of planning a four-day convention in the middle of a hurricane is something few will ever worry about. But an extra look at the list of speakers, what they plan to say and in what order?

Seems pretty standard.

On Tuesday Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered their much-anticipated speeches back-to-back. “I want to talk to you about love,” Ann gushed. “Love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children’s children.” When Christie took the stage, he recalled his mother telling him that when it comes to choosing between being respected and being loved, “always pick being respected” and “that respect could grow into real, lasting love.” Then Christie offered up the most glowing endorsement of love to date: “I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.”

In short, Ann said, love is everything. Christie? F–k love.

The juxtaposition of the speeches left some people’s mouth’s agape.

“Can you love your children without being so paralyzed by the sensation that you ruin America?” Slate‘s Dave Weigel wrote.

“Just when we were getting softened and buttered up by Ann Romney, comes the raging bull of Chris Christie,” WaPo‘s Carter Eskew wrote. “Did Ann Romney’s and Chris Christie’s speechwriters share drafts with each other before last night’s keynotes? I ask because I thought it was a little strange… Christie’s speech almost sounded like a rebuttal.”

But producing live TV isn’t easy. A longtime TV news producer tells FishbowlDC the criticism aimed at the pairing of Romney and Christie’s speeches is “a little off base.”

The producer, who didn’t have time to be cleared by the media relations dept. to talk on record, noted that most voters who were watching the convention coverage, were likely flipping through channels and not trying to find a story line. “The number one goal for the convention was to get eyeballs on Ann Romney,” the producer said. “If doing that is pairing her with Chris Christie, who’s a rock star in the world of politics, it helps them, frankly.”

Nonetheless, the two speeches got the BuzzFeed treatment “These two speeches to the Republican National Convention Tuesday were not meant to be back-to-back. Much less mashed-up,” wrote Sting lookalike Dorsey Shaw. Shaw then tied clips from the two dissonant messages from each speech together in a video, showing how remarkably opposite they were. First, a loud Christie joke: “In the automobile of life, Dad was just a passenger. Mom was the driver!” Then Ann, in a soft voice: “Tonight, I want to talk to you from my heart…”

John Dickerson, Slate‘s chief political correspondent, was much more forgiving, bending so far backward to justify the positioning of the speeches even Gabby Douglas was impressed. “Ann Romney and Chris Christie delivered two different messages on the first night of the Republican Convention,” he wrote. “[T]he two messages seemed in discord, but actually the messages were well-aligned, at least politically. Love Mitt Romney enough to elect him and then respect him when your love is tested because he’s making the hard choices that a president must make.”


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