GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie says rival 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 doesn't have what it takes to go up against Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump to lay out first 100 days in Gettysburg speech GOP senator: Dems making ‘concerted effort to produce fraudulent votes’ Trump touts Navy expansion proposal in Pa. MORE, arguing she would “cut his heart out” in the general election.
“You want someone on that stage against Hillary Clinton who has been through the wars, not somebody who’s a first-term United States senator who has never had a tough race in his life,” Christie said Wednesday on the “Laura Ingraham Show.” “This guy’s been spoon-fed every victory he’s ever had in his life.”
Christie said Rubio’s recent attacks against him are further evidence that he is not ready to be the Republican presidential nominee. A super-PAC supporting Rubio recently released an ad highlighting Christie’s embrace with President Obama in the aftermath Hurricane Sandy.
“This isn’t my first rodeo,” Christie said. “And if Marco Rubio thinks by putting out a couple of negative ads on me that somehow he’s going to intimidate me, it just shows how inexperienced he is, and how unprepared he is, to be our candidate against someone like Hillary Clinton.”
The rivalry between Rubio and Christie is growing as both men's poll numbers rise in New Hampshire, the crucial primary state that follows the Iowa caucuses in February.
A Public Policy Polling survey released Thursday found Donald Trump retains a commanding lead in the state, with 29 percent support. Rubio placed second, at 15 percent, while Christie came in third, at 11 percent.
Christie and other Republican primary candidates have attacked Rubio for being absent at major votes in the Senate, including deliberation over the recently passed government spending bill, which the Florida senator said he opposed.
Rubio has defended his voting record, pointing to statistics that show his attendance is in line with previous lawmakers who have run for higher office, including former Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
The GOP field will square off in the next primary debate, hosted by Fox Business Network, on Jan. 14.