Christie swings at Cruz, Paul

Chris Christie, 2016
Kenny Wassus / IJReview

Gov. Chris Christie came out of the Independence Day holiday on Monday swinging against two of his GOP presidential rivals.

Christie accused Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump wins Washington state primary Overnight Cybersecurity: House to offer bill on government hacking powers Overnight Tech: Rubio, Cruz take up internet domain fight MORE of hypocrisy after the Texan warned that candidates shouldn’t be attacking other Republicans in light of Donald Trump’s controversial comments about Mexicans. 

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“I find it is ironic that Ted Cruz is giving lectures on Republican-on-Republican violence. The guy who put together a group that was sponsoring primary ads against Senator Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAmerican technology leadership: We can't take it for granted GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' McConnell touts 'Senate squad' in Wes Anderson-style video MORE is giving the rest of us lectures on Republican-on-Republican violence,” Christie said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom."

“With all due respect, I don’t need to be lectured by Ted Cruz.”

He added that Cruz “sponsored primary ads against sitting Republican United States Senators,” including Alexander (Tenn.), who fought off a Tea Party challenge on his way to reelection in 2014. 

A Christie spokesman said that the governor was referring to the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that’s taken on Republican establishment candidates and propped up Tea Party challengers. 

The group endorsed Cruz in his 2012 Senate bid. He recorded an ad for the Fund touting Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R), who later lost the Senate primary to Rep. James Lankford. 

The group never helped to raise contributions for Alexander’s challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr (R), or made a direct endorsement in the race. 

The closest the SCF got was a $46,000 ad buy in 2013 bashing Alexander for voting for a budget resolution that included funding for the Affordable Care Act. 

And while Cruz’s father spoke at a Nashville Tea Party rally that Carr also spoke at, neither Cruz nor his father gave an official endorsement in that race.  

“Governor Christie is a good man and we appreciate more than he knows his taking the time to point out Senator Cruz's unceasing efforts to help get more conservatives elected to Congress,” Rick Tyler, a Cruz spokesman, told The Hill, in response to the charges. 

The Senate Conservatives Fund criticized Christie over the remarks.

"The Senate Conservatives Fund has no plans to take sides in the presidential race, but Governor Christie was wrong to criticize our ads urging Republican senators to oppose Obamacare funding," Ken Cuccinelli, the group's president, said in a statement. "Instead of defending liberal Republicans and liberal policies, he should be standing up to the Washington establishment and demanding the defunding of Obamacare.”
 
Christie also doubled down on his criticism of Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Paul ties release of 9/11 docs to defense bill Will Ted Cruz let it go? MORE’s (R) opposition to government surveillance programs during a Monday interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“What Rand Paul has done to make this country weaker and more vulnerable is a terrible thing and for him to raise money off it is disgraceful,” he said.

“We are going to look back on this and he should be in front of hearings — in front of Congress — if there is another attack.”

The jabs come as Christie, whose brand of politics is both brash and blunt, hits the ground running after officially launching his bid last Tuesday.

He’s currently in 10th place in the crowded GOP field, according to a Real Clear Politics analysis of recent polling. That’s the cut off for the main stages for the first two Republican debates, so Christie will be looking to shore up his numbers to grasp a secure hold onto the debate stage. 

This story was updated at 6:04 p.m.