With Ryan Choice, GOP Convention May Become More Focused With Rubio, Christie

This may be the biggest week in Paul Ryan's political life so far, but other Republican torchbearers are also securing prominent roles at the party's convention later this month in Tampa. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney before he accepts the party's nomination on the final evening while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will give the keynote speech to the party's faithful the evening prior.

Rubio, whose name recognition and star power have soared in recent months, was touted by many tea party activists and social conservatives as a vice presidential pick but others seemed to want to preserve him for a future presidential run. He will still be able to appeal to the Hispanic vote and should complement Ryan as the two tour the country challenging President Obama on reducing the deficit.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is bullish on the Florida senator, saying he is "without a doubt one of America's most dynamic and inspiring leaders."

"It is fitting that he will take on such an important role at our convention in his home state," Priebus said in a written statement released by the RNC. "Throughout his career, he has shown true dedication to constitutional principles, fiscal responsibility and free enterprise. As the son of immigrants, he has witnessed the promise of the American Dream firsthand and has worked to secure that promise for future generations."

Christie, whose outspoken demeanor and ability to appeal to centralist Democrats with his plain spoken comments, is also someone who can excite the party's base, especially those who are looking to take the fight to Obama between now and November.

The New Jersey governor promises to give what he calls a candid assessment of what Republicans need to do to win this fall in the 20-minute keynote address.

"We have the opportunity in Tampa to make clear that if we tell each other the hard truths, tackle the big problems, and make bold choices, we will see America's comeback," he said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Besides Rubio and Christie, other notable GOP faces that will make an appearance on stage are South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and one of Romney's former rivals, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Some of the GOP's most highly sought after cheerleaders have not been invited to speak during the Aug. 27-30 convention. These include former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Atlanta businessman Herman Cain and retiring Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. However, Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), has been given a speaking role.

Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will not be attending the convention.

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