Chris Christie Brawls With Rand Paul Over Future of GOP
Rand Paul is stepping up his attacks on Chris Christie, calling it “cheap and sad” that the New Jersey Governor is using “the cloak of 9/11 victims” to bash the Kentucky Republican.
“It’s really, I think, kind of sad and cheap that he would use the cloak of 9/11 victims and say, I’m the only one who cares about these victims. Hogwash,” Paul said on Monday to Sean Hannity on Fox News. “If he cared about protecting this country, maybe he wouldn’t be in this ‘give me, give me, give me all of the money’ that you have in Washington or don’t have and he would be more fiscally responsive and know the way we defend our country.”
This spat began when Christie noted last week that there is a “strain of libertarianism” in both parties representing “a very dangerous thought” when it comes to opposition from Paul and others to the NSA’s warrantless surveillance efforts and similar programs aimed at fighting terrorism.
Asked if he was speaking specifically about Paul, Christie said, “You can name any number of people and he’s one of them.” Christie, a federal prosecutor at the time of the 9/11 attacks, went on to say that opponents of these techniques should “come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation.”
Christie is giving a 2016 presidential run very close consideration. If he does run, he would face immediate challenges in a Republican primary field that promises to be chock-full of broadsides from more conservative candidates. And if the Republican Party continues drifting any further toward Paul, Christie’s path to victory would look even more difficult. So, for the governor, it’s best to have this battle now, well in advance of 2016.
(Side note: Christie faces reelection this fall. While he is a huge favorite, he isn’t taking anything for granted. And his remarks in Aspen about the need for a robust national security apparatus and his mention of the Sept. 11 attacks are likely to align him with the view of many voters back in New Jersey.)