Christie: Rand Paul, not FBI or CIA, should be called to testify if there’s another terrorist attack

Chris Christie is starting his presidential bid in a tough spot. The race already features too many candidates like him, who are polling higher than him, for him to climb into contention without lobbing some major hail marys in hopes that he can gain enough attention to make something stick.

That strategy was on full display this morning, when in an interview on Morning Joe he insinuated that future terror attacks on American soil would be the fault of those who worked to force the expiration of the PATRIOT Act, namely Rand Paul.

Said Christie, quoted by POLITICO:

Chris Christie, via L.E.MORMILE / Shutterstock

Chris Christie, via L.E.MORMILE / Shutterstock

“…what Rand Paul has done to make this country weaker and more vulnerable is a terrible thing, and for him to raise money off of it is disgraceful. It’s disgraceful,” Christie said, touting his experience as the only candidate to use the PATRIOT Act as New Jersey’s top prosecutor.

“We’re going to look back on this, and he should be in front of hearings in front of Congress if there’s another attack,” the governor said at the end of the interview. “Not the director of the FBI or the CIA.”

At least Christie understands how Republicans use congressional hearings relating to terror attacks: not to identify problems and solutions, but to damage your political opponents.

When polled in May, the public was evenly split on whether extending the PATRIOT Act was a good idea. A 42-35 plurality of Republicans supported the extension, parts of which failed due to a bipartisan filibuster led by Paul and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.

Christie’s comments come shortly following a Monmouth University poll showing that a majority of New Jersey residents want Christie to resign if he wants to seek the presidency. Christie was already spending little time in the state before his announcement, and his approval rating in the state hangs in the mid-30s.

Christie appears to have the ego necessary to press on with his statistically impossible presidential bid, but it appears as though his biggest contributions to the race will be these kinds of desperate rhetorical bombs. For his sake, he should exit early.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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