Paul on bridge scandal: People shouldn't feel bullied by govt.
February 9th, 2014
03:23 PM ET
9 years ago

Paul on bridge scandal: People shouldn't feel bullied by govt.

(CNN) - It's no secret that Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christie - potential rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination - aren't each other's biggest fans.

The two have had a few high-profile exchanges in the past year over their differing opinions about government spending and national security—a rift that’s highlighted a more widespread divide between the libertarian faction of the party and the centrists.

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Paul, a Kentucky Republican, has largely refrained from commenting on the controversy surrounding the Christie administration's closing of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge. But he can't resist a few subtle digs.

Paul said in an interview Saturday that it's not for him to judge whether the New Jersey governor should step down as chairman of the Republican Governors Association while he deals with the bridge scandal. But the senator did manage to throw in a comparison to one of the GOP's least-favorite Democrats: President Obama.

"It's important that people think that their government not be used to bully them," Paul told CNN affiliate KTRK in Houston. "So for example, one of the things that conservatives have been upset with President Obama is that it looked like he was using the IRS to target taxpayer groups."

"Nobody wants to think their government would shut down a bridge or do something just because you're a Democrat and I'm a Republican," Paul said. "It's unsettling and it's a serious charge. I don't know if it's true, but it's unsettling."

Christie has repeatedly denied he had any knowledge of or involvement in an alleged plot to cause massive traffic problems in Fort Lee, New Jersey, last year as a possible act of political retribution.

He fired two of his top aides accused of orchestrating the incident, while a third resigned shortly before the story became national news.

But now the issue is the subject of investigations by a state legislative committee and the Justice Department.

In a nearly two-hour press conference last month, Christie defended his reputation as Democrats tried to characterize him as a spiteful leader.

"I am not a bully," Christie said.

A month ago, Paul told reporters it was too soon to comment on the controversy, but he wasted no time explaining how much he personally hates traffic.

"It is kind of presumptuous to make a comment," he told reporters. "I don't know who e-mailed who and who works for whom. I have been in traffic before though, and I know how angry I am when I am in traffic - and I am always wondering, who did this to me?"

CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

Filed under: Chris Christie • Rand Paul
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. rs

    So if Mr. Paul feels this why, why is he in a party that is working hard to turn women into breeding stock; take away the rights of legitimate voters; and monitor the sort of sex (and marriage) consenting adults have?
    Mr. Paul is a very big government Republican- nothing more, nothing less.

    February 9, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Thomas

    So I guess the two wont be sitting down for a beer and let by gone's be by gone's .

    Chris Christie / Randy Paul 2016
    "Great Claus and Little Claus,"

    February 9, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    According to republicans, it's OK to bully, as long as you only bully, women, the poor, the uninsured, the unemployed, seniors, veterans, students, minorities, and workers.

    February 9, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Gary

    100 Seanators and all we are hearing from is Paul. It's Sunday Rant, you getter sit down and shut up, Uncle John is gonna get mad.

    February 9, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    @Tampa Tim: "According to republicans, it's OK to bully, as long as you only bully, women, the poor, the uninsured, the unemployed, seniors, veterans, students, minorities, and workers."

    Also, gay people, anyone who doesn't share their narrow view of Christianity, anyone who doesn't lockstep agree with their policies, anyone exposing their lies, anyone asking their candidates hardball questions ...

    February 9, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel


    if you live in a city, and Rand lives in the metro DC have it or not.

    February 9, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. vikingwoman

    It's no secret that Paul & most of his GOTP comrades have been bullies for the past 5 yrs, in an unprecedented effort to undermine the Obama administration! They are well versed bullies, so why is this bridge scandal a surprise? Ban/block/cut/slash: marriage equality, equal pay, womens healthcare, immigration, farming, education, SS, Medicare/aid, voters rights, SNAP/TANF, etc. & don't do a durned thing to help this country/citizens get back on its/their feet after the Bush/Cheney pillage & plunder! Yes, it's still an issue because the party who allowed that to happen on their watch has done nothing to rectify it & is, in fact, putting up road blocks to prevent us from moving on! Paul was in my state to 'explain' why his party needs to be more inclusive & was met w/in his own words, a tepid response! That's because your peeps are Rich Bullies dude & we are once again fighting similar battles of Last turn of the century! Rich people are some of the most 'entitled' on the planet!!

    February 9, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    @Tampa Tim
    According to republicans, it's OK to bully, as long as you only bully, women, the poor, the uninsured, the unemployed, seniors, veterans, students, minorities, and workers.
    Don't forget "sinners" too. The New Theocracy wants to tell you who not to marry. I am wondering though, who is left to vote and support them?

    February 9, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    Why do we keep hearing about the brain farts of a never was, is not and never will be?

    February 9, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. wendel

    I agree with tampa tim. but this is one nut job calling out another nut job. The republican party really needs to get a grip. Their must be someone in the party with an IQ higher than 70 . Amazing that they actually have people that vote for them. That's why we need to improve our education system in this country.

    February 9, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    @tampa Tim, can I add, you can bully on Iraq War and Afghanistan mountain bombing while Bin Laden is Happily sleeping sending messages to Bush who knew he is there, and you can bully on Haliburton to collect oil money and share among all the thieves up there in GOP. Good luck.

    February 9, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  12. YoonYoungJo

    This really points to what I believe is the theme for progress. No leaning too left or no leaning two right. If you have a Govt that is 50% all left and 50% all right, will anything ever get done? Will anything ever be agreed on?

    February 9, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. GFL

    It is all Obama's faulty; he was voted Class Bully in High School and closed the GW bridge to score political points with Ben Ghazi.

    February 9, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Amazing

    Look at the pot insulting the kettle! They are both bullies and symbols of our ignorance as "we the people" continue to put idiots like this in office> Then, we expect something different.

    February 9, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. The REAL TRUTH...

    Gotta love that the GOP feels perfectly OK about Krispy not knowing what's going on in his [small] state, yet lambaste the President for not knowing what some individual in an IRS dept in Kansas is doing... more of the usual hypocrisy from the right!

    February 9, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. Matt

    Since when are bullies considered "centrists"? There hasn't been a centrist in the Republican party since Bush II.

    February 9, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. Dld

    Could the split among the Republicans get any deeper?

    February 9, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. Greg in Arkansas

    Ron Paul 2012! Oh wait… it’s not time yet

    February 9, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. Kinard

    Wow! Only people with limited capacity for thought would believe this idiots statement, If you are capable of no more than inflating a lung, or evacuating a bowel please don't go to the polls this next election. Otherwise, more and more morons like this will get elected, and we don't need more of the same.

    February 9, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Paul

    The biggest bullies of all are the Democrats, who forced/coerced ObamaCare on us.

    They lied, they deceived and now Americans are paying the consequence.

    February 9, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Name Paladin

    Just can't tell the truth. "It looked like" but nothing about it has been through countless committee hearings and no evidence was found. What a shaman.

    February 9, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. smith

    Rand Paul, quit wasting people's time and your time ! There is no way you could win a Presidential race ! None !

    February 9, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. Kierthos

    So, uh... I guess he's going to promote the idea that the Republicans should stop passing restrictive laws on abortion and voting? No? Yeah, I didn't think so.

    February 9, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Al

    I am not a big Christie fan but this guy taking his cheap shots when the guy is down is a low blow for a guy who well is kind of a dweeb, let's be honest.

    February 9, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. just me

    Well said, Tampa Tim. But you forgot to mention those pesky people of color who insist on voting.

    February 9, 2014 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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