Cruz 'rooting' for Christie

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sunday he’s “rooting” for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a potential opponent in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, to emerge from the scandal that has hobbled his administration in recent weeks.

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“I think it's unfortunate he's found himself in this mess, and I hope he can extricate himself. I'm certainly rooting for him to do so, because I think he's an effective leader, and I'd like to see him move on to governing New Jersey and not being mired in this scandal,” Cruz said.

Christie’s position at the front of the pack of the GOP presidential primary field became less certain this month, as an investigation into lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last year has touched a growing number of staffers in his administration.

Since emails went public earlier this month that indicated a top Christie aide had a hand in the lane closures, in what appears to be an act of political retribution, more Democratic mayors have come forward with accusations against the Christie administration.

And even as he tried to refocus on his second-term agenda with his inaugural address, the scandal drew headlines, with the U.S. attorney’s office serving subpoenas on his reelection campaign.

Neither Cruz nor Christie has made their 2016 intentions clear, but both are considered likely contenders.

Asked directly about his 2016 plans on Sunday, Cruz demurred.

“My focus is on the challenges facing the country right now," Cruz said. "My focus is standing and fighting right now in the Senate."

Many of Christie’s potential opponents have praised or defended Christie’s handling of the bridge scandal. The governor fired one staffer and cut ties with another, and held a two-hour-long press conference on the scandal, after the emails went public.

And Cruz complimented Christie personally on Sunday, though he didn't weigh in on whether the scandal makes him unfit to be president.

“I like Chris Christie. I think he is brash and outspoken, and I think it's terrific that he's been able to get elected twice as a Republican in a very blue state,” he said.