Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDemocrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations McConnell vows GOP won't help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer 'tantrum' MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said it would be difficult for New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieChris ChristieWhat New Jersey's gubernatorial contest tells us about the political landscape Christie: 2020 Joe Biden 'is now officially dead and buried' Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group MORE (R) to win the Republican presidential nomination because of his centrist tilt. [WATCH VIDEO]
The Kentucky senator, who is seen as a contender for the 2016 presidential race, said the GOP needs “moderates” like Christie but noted that early nominating states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have a conservative tilt.
“I think the Republican Party is a big party, and we need moderates like Chris Christie who can win in New Jersey in our party,” Paul said in an interview with CNN. “What it means about the national party, I’m not sure there is an answer. But we do need moderates like Chris Christie in the party.”
Christie is expected to coast to victory in his reelection campaign Tuesday night in New Jersey.
When asked if Christie is the front-runner for the GOP nomination for president in 2016, Paul said “I think the party in general is more conservative.”
“It is a tough road, but I think we need ideas and a broader party in many ways, so I welcome him to the party, and I think he is an important part of it,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Christie said he maintained a solid conservative record during his first term as governor.
“They can call me whatever they want to call me,” Christie said on CNN, not addressing Paul. “You look at my record; I think most people objectively look at my record as we were talking about before when we were outside, it's a solid conservative record.”
Paul has feuded with Christie in the past over the scope of national surveillance programs and government spending.
The Kentucky senator eventually tried to end the tiff over beers earlier this year, which Christie said he was too busy to make time for.
During the interview, Paul also addressed charges of plagiarism against him. He said he is ultimately responsible.
“Ultimately, I am the boss, and things go out under my name, and so it is my fault,” he said. “But I would say that people need to also understand that I have never intentionally presented anyone’s ideas as my own.”