New Jersey Governor Chris Christie described U.S. Senator Rand Paul as “juvenile” for calling him “the king of bacon” and declined the Kentucky Republican’s invite to Washington to settle their differences over a beer.
“I’m not offended by Senator Paul calling me names,” Christie said during his “Ask the Governor” show broadcast by Townsquare Media LLC’s WKXW-FM radio station in Ewing yesterday. “I think it’s juvenile, but I’m not offended by it.”
The day before on CNN, Paul, 50, said Christie was “the king of bacon” who is using the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to further a “gimme, gimme, gimme” agenda for federal spending.
Christie last week referred to Paul, a possible rival in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, as a subscriber to “dangerous” political ideas that value individual liberties over government power and national security. Earlier today, Paul said on a Fox News show that he and the governor should “patch things up” over a beer.
“I’m running for re-election in New Jersey,” said Christie, who is 50 years old. “I really don’t have time for that at the moment. I’ve got work to do here.”
The governor’s bid for a second term in November has benefitted from New Jersey voter-approval ratings that rose to records following his response to Hurricane Sandy. However, he has drawn criticism from some national Republicans for praising President Barack Obama’s help after the October storm and for scolding party colleagues in Congress for aid delays.
Christie set off a back-and-forth with Paul on July 25 during a roundtable discussion with Republican governors in which he criticized those politicians who place civil liberties above efforts to protect the nation from another attack.
“I just want us to be really cautious of this strain of libertarianism that is going through both parties right now and making big headlines,” Christie said during the event in Aspen, Colorado. “I think it is a very dangerous thought.”
Paul, Christie said, was among “any number of people who engage in” the libertarian debates over such issues as the U.S. National Security Agency’s tracking of Americans’ international telephone calls and e-mails sent abroad.
Divisions have split Democrats and Republicans alike in Washington over such issues as privacy rights that conflict with anti-terrorism measures. Christie is at odds with some in his party, including Paul, who have accused the Obama administration of trampling civil liberties in the name of homeland security.
“Christie worries about the dangers of freedom,” Paul said on the Twitter Inc. website. “I worry about the danger of losing that freedom. Spying without warrants is unconstitutional.”
U.S. lawmakers angry about domestic telephone record-collection lost an effort July 24 to curtail funding for the intelligence-gathering tools revealed by fugitive U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden. On a 205-217 vote, the House of Representatives rejected an amendment from Republican Justin Amash, a congressman from Michigan, that would have limited the NSA’s ability to collect telephone records.
Christie, a former federal prosecutor who lives in the New York City suburb of Mendham Township, has spoken about friends of his four children who lost parents in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He’s also recounted his anxiety over the whereabouts that day of his wife, Mary Pat Christie, a bond trader who was two blocks from where the hijacked aircraft struck and couldn’t contact her family to tell them she was safe until many hours later.