By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
After a four-day verbal skirmish, Rand Paul late yesterday called for peace.
“With Gov. Christie, it’s gotten a little too personal. So we’re ready to kiss and make up,” Paul said.
On his monthly radio show last night, Chris Christie was less conciliatory.
“I don’t know why Sen. Paul’s so out of whack about this. At the end of the day, I never called him any names, yet he called me names. I didn’t use any childish-type phrases like ‘gimme gimme gimme.’ He did,” Christie said.
It started as a disagreement about government surveillance. The senator is a critic. The governor thinks it’s necessary to keep America safe.
“I was asked a question. I gave my opinion. It really had nothing to do with Sen. Paul, but Sen. Paul wanted to make it about Sen. Paul, but that’s fine,” Christie said.
When asked if he liked Christie, Paul said, “I don’t really know him, but I think the party’s big enough for both of us.”
When it turned into an argument about money for Sandy recovery and government spending overall, it started to look like the Republican Party might be coming apart.
“We’re gonna have to patch things up. If we can sit down, I’m inviting him for a beer any time he would like to come sit down and sit at the pub around the corner from the Senate,” Paul said.
“I’m running for reelection here in New Jersey. I don’t really have time for that at the moment. If I find myself down in Washington, I’ll certainly look him up,” Christie said.
“Sen. Paul looks like he asked for a truce. That to me indicates that the governor won. The guy who asks for the truce is the loser,” said Politifax Editor and Publisher Nick Acocella.
Veteran political observer Acocella thinks the whole episode has been good for Christie.
“It’s been very good for him. It’s given him national exposure. Any time you get your face on national television, it’s good for you. In the long run does it pay off in a nomination? You’ve seen the opening salvo in the 2016 wars,” Acocella said.
The four-day feud, he says, underscores the fissure in the party.
“There’s the very, very conservative wing of the Republican Party, and then there’s the guys who we’re supposed to call them moderates but are moderates. That’s been a battle the last four or five cycles for the Republicans. The moderate, quote unquote, has always been nominated. They’ve never nominated the really conservative guy, and I think that’s what the Christie people are thinking, that the really conservative guys are gonna kill each other off and he’ll be the last Republican standing,” Acocella said.
For now, the public squabbling appears over.