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. Dan5404

    Rand Paul is totally delusional about his chance of being president. He's a poor excuse for a Senator already. As for bullying, he has been bullying Hillary Clinton ever since he decided he would follow his delusion. She doesn't even pay attention to his ridiculous and vicious personal attacks on her and Bill Clinton, He's so far behind both of them in popularity, he's not important enough to listen to.on any subject.

    February 9, 2014 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. Name Uche Agonsi

    The impotency of Presidential candidacy for the GOPers is a generalised ailment when you think of the helpless and middle class American. These Repubs need ethical surgery.

    February 10, 2014 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  3. Mary

    You know how sometimes when a person is talking, you get the sense that they are lying? Sometimes it's their body language, their tone of voice or their mannerisms, but something about them just comes across as dishonest?

    That's the impression I have of Mr. Paul every time I see him on TV. Rand Paul reminds me of a sleazy car salesman who'll say anything to sell a car. Every time he talks, he just sounds dishonest. He's a sleazeball. I wouldn't trust him any farther than you could throw him.

    February 10, 2014 12:28 am at 12:28 am |

    Christie bullied dopey Rant Paul when he correctly called Kentucky a welfare state. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    February 10, 2014 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  5. Marie MD

    So ayn rand wannabe, you don't know what the truth is but you are talking about it as if you knew.
    Why are you coming to the help of a bully. VP aspirations? Neither one of you are going anywhere in 2016.

    February 10, 2014 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  6. MollyBee

    Of course, Randy Paul is hoping to be President. But with his questionable heritage ( e.g. Daddy Paul, civil rights, isolationism, indoctrination camps, anti-government, etc. etc. etc.), he has little chance. Even if he did, he is making a huge error in deciphering the psyche of the 21st century American voter. Not is the entire GOP. While America grows impatient with the out-of-date, regressive social and economic policies of the Republican Party, it's movers and shakers are interested only in a mere face-lift. Making the Party "seem" more inclusive, progressive and interested in PEOPLE is not going to make it. And...BTW, there are many Democrats that would actually love to see the GOP become a functioning Party again.

    February 10, 2014 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
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