March 1st, 2013
07:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Not inviting Christie to CPAC is 'suicide' for GOP, King says

(CNN) - The decision not to invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the Conservative Political Action Conference undermines the annual event's credibility, a New York Republican lawmaker said on Friday.

"That's a suicidal death wish," U.S. Rep. Peter King said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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Al Cardenas, chairman of the group which runs CPAC, said he did not invite Christie back to the event this year because the governor had not held conservative positions in recent months.

Specifically, he said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," because of the $60 billion Superstorm Sandy relief bill he supported and a temporary, federally funded expansion of Medicaid in New Jersey.

Christie is the eighth Republican governor to sign onto the Medicaid expansion, but only for the first three years when it is funded fully by the federal government.

"Let me be clear: Refusing these federal dollars wouldn't mean they would not be spent," he told lawmakers last week.

Cardenas said he hoped Christie "gets back to the old form so we can have him again next year."

For his part, Christie dismissed any notion it was a snub and said, "It's not like I'm lacking for invitations to speak around the country."

But King suggested the move "writes off CPAC as a serious force."

"You have a governor who is conservative - he's balanced the budget, he's taken on public employee unions, he's pro-life – and yet, he has a 74% favorable rating in a Democratic blue state," King said. "So here's a person who has shown that blue collar conservatism works, that it appeals to working men and women, that it appeals to women - and these are the areas that we've been suffering.

"If you can't accept Chris Christie as a conservative then you're really just asking for another election loss in 2016 and it makes us look crazy in the eyes of the American people," he continued.

King also explained further his criticism of Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, who voted against that post-Sandy aid package yet recently held fundraising meetings in New York.

"Senator Rubio voted against it," he said. "Never came to New York to inspect the damage, never spoke with Governor Cuomo or Mayor Bloomberg or, as far as I know, with Governor Christie. He just voted no, as if this is accepted policy that Republicans, national Republicans can vote against New York."

Rubio declined to appear on the program to discuss King's comments, including those King made in a Thursday e-mail to supporters, where he described Rubio's pitch in no uncertain terms.

"[T]o have the balls to come in and say, 'We screwed you now make us president?'" he wrote.

Rubio is from Florida, a state that has received federal storm relief aid, he pointed out. Some Republicans considered a portion of the billions in the Sandy aid package to be pork and initially blocked the full bill from passing.

"This isn't looking for a bridge or a tunnel or a special project," King said. "This is life and death we're talking about."

A conservative should be able to endorse spending such as aid relief, he said, but some approach politics in “a very puritanical" way.

"I'm pro-life, I'm conservative, but I also understand that I don't believe that I have a Biblical knowledge of all the issues facing the country," he said. "The idea is to make government work the way Ronald Reagan did."

- CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report

Filed under: Chris Christie • Marco Rubio • New Jersey
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. freedom

    Chris Christie isn't going to make or break the Republican party – no way – no how.

    March 1, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. Mm

    The GOP is on a suicide mission...what more is there to say...

    March 1, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. maf

    This is hilarious, the GOP continue to dismiss the moderates, continue to eat their own. 2014 is just over the horizon and the GOP are miles from figuring anything out. Hope the Democrats can field some solid candidates in order to take over the house!!

    March 1, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    But it's good for Christie - he won't be associated with shrieking Palin and bragging RMoney.

    March 1, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. MaryM

    Yes, it is sucide for the repubs not to invite Gov Christie to CPAc. But then again, Gov Christie does not want to be associated with the clowns at CPAC.

    March 1, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  6. Ed

    This is a primer on how an organization can make itself irrelevant. Just pull in your horns and focus on the true believers. Don't worry about the majority of the country...they're all rubes anyway. We know better and we'll make sure you know we believe we know better. Unfortunately, the far right of the Republican Party has show that all they can really do is keep viable candidates from getting nominated...they can't actually win general elections.

    March 2, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Whatever it takes to eliminate the current incarnation of the GOP leadership is fine by me. They are all rotten to the core.

    March 2, 2013 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  8. sabina barnes

    So is christie dem/rep cant be both.

    March 2, 2013 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  9. Gregory M. Newbold

    If Chris Christie wants to be president some day here is his path.

    1.) Moderate his weight visibly but not severely ~ drop 60 lbs.

    2.) Moderate his "bully" image.

    3.) Moderate his "conservative" behaviors / pronouncements that are only intended to validate him with the Tea-Party faction.

    4.) Moderate his party affiliation. Win re-election as Governor, switch parties, agree to run on the Democratic ticket as VEEP in 2016 & 2020.

    Then in 2024, he could win the Oval office. No charge for my consulting, Governor.

    March 2, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. zanny

    According to entertainer, Bill O Reilly, Christie's embrace of Presideent Obama during the Sandy devastation is why the Reps lost the election. He said on Leno last night that Romney was ahead until that happened. They just cannot aCCEPT THE FACT THAT THEY HAD AN UNELECTABLE CANDUIDATE AND THAT THE 47% KILLED ANY CHANCE HE HAD OF WINNING.Plus he was only winning in the Fox polls and we all know now how wrong they were.

    March 2, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. sifto

    King actually has a lot of liberal ideas–he IS from New York and supports the government there–he is not one to talk...Christie has done a good job in NJ–but, his approval rating would not be high if he was running for POTUS..and look how the Obama team smeared Mitt Romney for the health care in Mass that they were themselves promoting..Christie will not be able to have it both ways–supporting Obama at a crucial time in the last election and then asking repubs to support him? HELLO!!

    March 2, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  12. T

    .....Chris,.............if you and Huntsman form a committee, FREE of a political party, YOU COULD WIN...........

    March 2, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. Former Republican

    At this point, Christie would be more successful declaring himself an Independent and leaving the GOP insanity behind!

    March 2, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Tea Partiers and conservative extremists are winning the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Establishment Repubicans must start to push back if it doesn't want the party to become a permanent minority party in the very near future. In California, only 33% of the voters are registered Republicans. Will this be the lash hurrah of the party of angry old white men?

    March 2, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. tea party member

    Conservative Political Action Conference will do just fine without Christie. We should be the party of conservatives not the party wimps that beg money from the federal government. Christie blew his chance to lead the party when he buddied up
    with the Obama.

    March 2, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |