We’ll be covering the announcement live here. He’s supposed to kick off any time, and already correspondents are describing the mood in the venue as “a madhouse.”

Sounds apropos, considering Christie’s tendency to buck at the rhetorical trends his colleagues embrace.

Live stream hat tip to Save Jersey (UPDATE: the current embed has the full announcement and pre- and post-game coverage):

We’re off! Kicking things off is a teacher, friend…and registered Democrat. Will this end up on the union websites first, or the conservative ones?

Stupid media tricks: as Christie walks out onto the stage, NJTV automatically pivots to talking about how many union protesters are outside, and how controversial it is that Christie won’t commit to more funding for pensions. He has said that “the money isn’t there,” and it’s a valid discussion, but that might be the fastest narrative pivot of the cycle so far!

Christie is playing the part of the Man of the People really well here. He’s focusing on Jersey (and the crowd is loving it), the working class, and “growth and opportunity.” He’s keeping it simple: more America, less government, let’s take this momentum to Washington.

…and here comes the snark. “I am not running for President of the United States as a surrogate for being elected Prom King of America.” I’m going to send this to the comments—do you, readers of LI, think that that level of snark will help or hurt him? As a matter of messaging (and not of policy) I like it, but I’m wondering if our cross section of America is already too turned off by Christie on a policy level to allow snark, humor, and general bombast to resonate.

This is going really, really well for him. He’s Polished Chris Christie—and he looks like a contender. (Whether or not that resonates with the conservative primary voters he needs to win the nomination remains to be seen—I’m highly skeptical, but the rhetoric was good.) His emphasis on authenticity felt like a signal of things to come; he promises a campaign that focuses on truth as opposed to attacks, and I’m wondering how long that will last. (Five minutes? Ten minutes?)

Of course, Christie will have a lot to deal with—from both the home crowd, and national groups already attacking the entire Republican field.

That being said, in the short term, he’s probably thanking them for the eye-catching memes bolstering his anti-Democrat cred. (He can use all the help he can get.)