Do you think Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) came prepared to this press conference knowing full well a reporter might ask him a question about Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) comments on Hannity Monday night? Yeah, I’d say so:
Governor Christie is not one to shrink from a political argument. Remember, he essentially told every conservative in America to go to hell when he was accused of lavishing excessive praise on the president during Hurricane Sandy. Note, though, how in this particular instance, he paints himself as the fiscally responsible, chief executive from a so-called “donor state” whereas Senator Paul is nothing more than a “Washington insider” who’s solely committed to “bringing home the bacon” and getting re-elected. See how that works? Of course, I’m not the least bit convinced Christie’s appraisal is even remotely true, but that doesn't really matter, does it? Incidentally, if both Christie and Paul find themselves as the Republican front runners in 2016, you can bet your bottom dollar the New Jersey firebrand will employ his “insider vs. outsider” political argument to widen his appeal and convince fiscal hawks to support him. As presumably a two-term governor at that point, Christie will argue that he knows how to balance budgets, cut spending, deal with the unions, and govern (a very liberal) state. By contrast, he’ll ask, does Senator Rand Paul have this kind of experience? Does Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan? Or are they just "Washington insiders" now?
For what it’s worth, the figures Christie cites are not pulled out of thin air either (consult this chart via Jennifer Rubin for more information.) But it seems a bit unfair to hold Senator Paul solely responsible for all the pork barrel spending that goes on (and has been going on for years) in his home state. He’s not the only federally elected representative ever to serve in Kentucky’s state delegation, after all.
But a big takeaway here, per Allahpundit, is that Christie isn’t a moderate who’s going to back down to conservatives in the way, say, Mitt Romney did in 2012. He’s going to stand his ground come hell or high-water. He's not afraid to push the envelope. And whether you like him or not, that’s something I think most Republican primary voters will come to respect, even if they don't necessarily vote for him.
UPDATE: Senator Paul responded in kind last night:
“This is the king of bacon talking about bacon."