WASHINGTON (AP) — It's the highest-profile speaking slot at a party convention for someone not running for president or vice president -- and at the Republican convention this month in Florida, the role of keynote speaker will be filled by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

He tells USA Today that he'll be offering some "very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in." Christie, who is already working on his speech, says he will describe his experiences in New Jersey as evidence that Americans are ready to "confront these problems head-on and endure some sacrifice."

The formal announcement that he's been chosen is planned for later today.

It's a slot that has been a big political boost for others -- including Barack Obama, who was keynote speaker at the Democratic convention in 2004.

Christie considered a 2012 presidential bid of his own before endorsing Mitt Romney.

He's already a favorite among fiscal conservatives -- in part because of his sometimes blunt speaking style.