(CNN) – If Chris Christie becomes the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, former GOP Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said flatly he would not be able to vote for the New Jersey governor.
“He offers nothing,” Paul said Thursday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
The three-time presidential candidate sharply disagreed with Christie’s assertion earlier in the day that winning elections should be the primary focus of the GOP over holding internal debates about ideology. Paul said talking about ideas is an important part of the electoral process.
“There's more to it than just power,” Paul said. “To say and do anything you want just to be in government? You have to believe in something and understand economics or you just keep doing the same things and deficits keep running up.”
Speaking at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting in Boston, Christie argued Thursday that some people in the party prefer to be “college professors.”
“Now, college professors are fine, I guess. Being a college professor, they basically spout out ideas that nobody does anything about,” he said. “For our ideas to matter, we have to win. Because if we don’t win, we don’t govern. And if we don’t govern, all we do is shout to the wind. And so I am going to do anything I need to do to win.”
His comments followed his recent intra-party spat with Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, over issues involving federal surveillance programs and Superstorm Sandy aid. The public feud represented a broader divide within the GOP between libertarian-leaning viewpoints and establishment Republicans.
Ron Paul said Thursday that Christie’s winning-to-govern philosophy simply results in the status quo.
“That's why nothing changes, whether you have a Republican in or a Democrat. Basically it's just one party,” he said.
Asked if he believes his son has what it takes to win the Republican nomination, should he decide to run, the former congressman said “certainly.”
“I would think so,” he said, adding that he thinks it’s too early to be talking about 2016. “(But) compared to the rest? Yeah he certainly is capable.”