Excerpt:

The contest for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 will include a great debate about the party's direction on foreign policy and national security, while the DNC candidates are on the same page. N.J. Governor Chris Christie just clashed with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul after saying that he and his libertarian trend are "dangerous."

As I noted on July 16, the emphasis on national polls is misplaced. The important ones are in Iowa and New Hampshire and Paul leads in both, making him the frontrunner. Now, he also leads nationally with 16% according to a PPP poll. With his strengthening position Paul should have been expecting criticism from his rivals, and Christie has stepped up to throw the hardest punch.

Christie is framing himself as tougher on national security than Paul, saying that Paul's "strain of libertarianism…is a very dangerous thought." The specific area of disagreement is the National Security Agency's controversial intelligence-gathering programs. Paul's office replied by referring to him as "(Crist)ie," using the disagreement to reinforce criticism that Christie is too moderate.


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