Ted Cruz defends Rand Paul after Chris Christie slap, but doesn’t address specifics

Chris Moody
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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defended his Republican colleague Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Monday after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said last week that lawmakers with views on national security like Paul’s are “dangerous,” but Cruz declined to directly address the issues Christie raised.

“Gov. Christie is certainly entitled to his opinions, and he does not seem shy about sharing those. What I can tell you is that I think the principles of liberty are the foundation of this country,” Cruz said during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros radio show Monday morning.

At a forum in Aspen, Colo., last Thursday, Christie criticized libertarian Republicans such as Paul, who he said hold opinions about national security practices that would inhibit the United States from battling terrorism and could put Americans at risk.

“This strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought,” Christie said. “You can name any number of people, and [Rand Paul is] one of them.”

During the interview Monday, Cruz did not directly address the specific issues Christie raised, but he blasted “career politicians” who he said have “lost sight of liberty.”

“That’s what this nation is founded on,” Cruz said. “It’s what our Constitution does, and frankly, one of the reasons for deep frustrations so many Americans have with career politicians — both Republican and Democrat — is that they’ve lost sight of liberty. They’ve lost sight of the free market principles of our Constitution, and I think there’s an incredible hunger to get back to the principles that made this nation strong.”

In March, Cruz joined Paul on the Senate floor for part of Paul’s 13-hour speech made in protest to President Barack Obama’s use of drones to combat terrorism overseas. While speaking at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Iowa in Des Moines earlier this month, Cruz praised Paul for drawing attention to national security practices.

Cruz, Christie and Paul are weighing their options for presidential runs in 2016. Even though the election is more than three years away, their comments now will help shape the brand of Republican they would bring to the race should they decide to run.

For now, it’s clear that Cruz has decided not to get too involved in disputing other Republicans. When pressed about whether he thought Christie was “wrong” in his remarks about Paul, Cruz declined to say.

“There’s a lot of rock throwing in politics,” he said. “It comes for different reasons. Sometimes it’s personal issues, sometimes it’s political, sometimes it’s a policy disagreement. In my view, I think most people don’t care. They don’t really care about petty partisan squabbles between politicians. What people are much more interested in is how we turn this country around.”