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Christie slams Paul for Patriot Act failure

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) took a shot Saturday at his potential 2016 presidential rival, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for blocking renewal of the Patriot Act.

In a statement from his political action committee, Christie slammed “misguided ideologues” with “no real world experience in fighting terrorism” for “putting their uninformed beliefs above the safety and security of our citizens.”

{mosads}Christie’s statement is an attempt to burnish his reputation as a national security hawk as he prepares a run for president in 2016.

He is drawing a sharp contrast with Paul, who used the Patriot Act debate to cement opposition to government surveillance as a cornerstone of his libertarian presidential campaign.

Paul blocked repeated attempts by his Kentucky counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), early Saturday to enact a short-term extension of the Patriot Act with the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk data collection program intact.

On Wednesday, Paul delivered a lengthy speech he billed as a filibuster of a Patriot Act extension. During the speech, Paul’s campaign blasted out an email to supporters to build support for his effort and collect names and email addresses of potential political backers.
 
Christie, who is seeking to run as a Washington outsider, cast the Patriot Act vote as another example of congressional dysfunction.

“The Senate’s failure to extend the Patriot Act is a failure of the U.S. government to perform its most important function — protecting its citizens from harm,” he said. “This dysfunction is what we have come to expect from Washington, D.C., but usually it does not have such dangerous and severe consequences.”

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