Chris Christie may have won a big election last night, but Sen. Rand Paul is determined to keep his own name in the spotlight when it comes to 2016. The Kentucky senator, dogged by a plagiarism mini-scandal, recently met with conservative media's big whigs to explore 2016 run. Politico reports on Wednesday that Paul sat down with both Fox News chief Roger Ailes and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Paul has wanted to "smooth concerns among Republicans and influencers about whether he shares his famous libertarian father's views on issues like national security," Politico reports. Murdoch and Ailes have not commented on the meetings. And this doesn't mean that they've anointed Paul, necessarily — the two have had a good relationship with Christie, and Ailes even urged Christie to run against Mitt Romney in the last election. But Murdoch did criticize Christie when he reached out to President Obama after Hurricane Sandy. Paul has been less friendly to Obama.
And Paul has already figured out how to criticize Christie while still being nice about his reelection. "I think the Republican Party is a big party, and we need moderates like Chris Christie who can win in New Jersey," Paul told Wolf Blitzer last night on CNN as the results were rolling in. "What that means about the national party, I'm not sure there's an answer. But we do need moderates like Chris Christie in the party." In the party, but maybe not as president.
Paul also talked himself up as a candidate who could do well in the early caucuses, while subtly shutting Christie down: "I think [Christie in 2016] will be more difficult — states like Iowa are very conservative. South Carolina is very conservative. New Hampshire, I think, is conservative with a little bit of a libertarian bent."
Don't expect Christie to stay quiet for long — these two have a well-documented history of trading barbs (and some fat jokes). Christie still hasn't taken Paul's offer to quash this whole thing over a beer.