New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lashed out at Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio: GOP Congress could go in different direction than Trump Poll: Clinton holds 4-point lead in Florida Republicans, it's time to stop asking 'What would Reagan do?' MORE (R-Fla.) on Tuesday for missing votes in the Senate.
Speaking at a town hall event in Iowa, Christie singled out Rubio for missing a Dec. 18 vote on the $1.8 trillion spending and tax package.
Rubio said he opposed the bill and late in the process threatened to block it, but ultimately missed the vote because he was campaigning for president.
“Well, dude, show up to work and vote no, right?” Christie said. “Just show up to work and vote no, and if you don’t want to, then quit.”
Christie and Rubio are battling for support in New Hampshire, where voters go to the polls on Feb. 9. A strong showing there is important for both men, who are vying to emerge as a strong alternative to GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
Christie has considerable momentum in New Hampshire, where he’s spent more time than any candidate and has seen his poll numbers rise in recent weeks as he’s locked down high-profile endorsements and earned the backing of the state’s most influential newspaper.
The New Jersey governor is one of several candidates hammering Rubio over his voting record.
On Tuesday, Right to Rise, a super-PAC backing Jeb Bush for president, released an ad criticizing Rubio for missing an intelligence briefing in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Rubio has defended missing the vote, saying that "in essence, not voting for it is a vote against it,” and arguing that the bill would have passed regardless of whether he was there. Rubio’s campaign also pushed back at the super-PAC ad, claiming the Florida Republican attended a separate and more important briefing. Rubio has also defended missing votes, saying he’s not running for reelection to the Senate and that because he’s running for president, he’ll show up when his votes could be the deciding factor.
Rubio’s campaign also pushed back at the super-PAC's ad, claiming the Florida Republican attended a separate and more important briefing. Rubio has also defended missing votes, saying he’s not running for reelection to the Senate and that because he’s running for president, he’ll show up when his vote could be the deciding factor.
On Tuesday, Christie also sought to highlight his executive bona fides, going on an extended riff against the senators running for president, claiming that all of their votes are motivated by politics and that they don’t have to make any truly meaningful decisions.
“By definition, they do nothing,” Christie said. “They go to Washington and they vote. They’re one of 100. Lots of good men and women there but they’re not responsible for anything.”
Christie likened Rubio and Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulWhat the 'Bernie Sanders wing of the GOP' can teach Congress GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election How low is the bar for presidential candidates, anyway? MORE (Ky.) and Ted CruzTed CruzIs Georgia turning blue? Five takeaways from money race Club for Growth: Anti-Trump spending proved to be 'good call' MORE (Texas) to President Obama, who was also a first-term senator when he ran for president.
“That’s where Barack Obama came from, that’s where Hillary Clinton came from,” he said. “Do we really want to go back to that again on either side of the aisle? We need people who have actually done something and been held accountable for the decisions you make.”
He also singled out Cruz for criticism, saying the Texas senator tried to sound tough on terror by threatening to “carpet bomb” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria until we find out “if sand can glow in the dark.”
Christie said that when Cruz had the opportunity to be strong on terror by voting to continue the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records, he instead voted to limit the spy program.
“Sand glowing — that’s tough talk right?” Christie said. “So you say maybe this is the guy we need, because he’s tough. Except this past summer when he had an opportunity to give our intelligence community all the tools they needed to connect the dots and keep us safe he took tools away from them. ... So does it matter what you say or what you do? See, this is the problem, and this is what I want you to think about when you go to caucus on Feb. 1.”