Peter King ready to take on Christie in presidential fight

New York Republican Rep. Peter King, who has been vocal about his interest in running for president in 2016, won't shy away from a fight with another tough-talking Northeastern politician.

“You should ask Chris Christie if me being in the race disqualifies him," King told City & State when asked whether the New Jersey governor's likely candidacy will preclude his own.

King announced his interest in the race earlier this year but hasn't yet made an official decision to enter, and many observers believe Christie's candidacy would overshadow King's, as they're both tough-taking moderate Republicans from neighboring states.

ADVERTISEMENT
King has so far held his fire on Christie, however, choosing instead to focus on early attacks in the GOP primary on two other potential opponents: Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

He lambasted Cruz for spearheading the conservative-backed strategy to defund ObamaCare that led to a government shutdown earlier this year, accusing him in City & State of leading the country into "the Valley of Death" and calling him a "false prophet."

“It was a fraudulent policy from beginning to end, and nobody was saying it,” King said. “I said that Ted Cruz was a fraud when it was obvious to the world. Talk about the emperor having no clothes! There it was!”

But if he does make it through what's expected to be a contentious GOP primary, King said he could have trouble going on the attack against the likely Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He said "it would be very hard to get personal" against Hillary Clinton, as he's defended her husband previously — and he believes that would make it difficult for her to launch personal attacks against him.

For now, at least, the two appear to be on friendly terms.

“I was down in the White House back in September,” King said of a recent run-in between the two, “[and] as I come walking out ... who’s standing there, but Hillary Clinton. She’d just gotten some award, and she was coming in to meet with, I guess, the National Security Council, and also with [President] Obama on Syria. ... I said, ‘Hillary!’ and she said, ‘Mr. President.’ So there you go.”