Christie’s Pushback: Paul, King and Co.

Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Images

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a discussion of the 21st annual Conference on Volunteering and Service, convened by Point of Light, on June 21, 2013 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

Chris Christie, the outspoken New Jersey governor who turned down a chance to seek the White House last year, continued today to distance himself from more extreme members of his own Republican Party.

Speaking to reporters in Little Ferry, the 59-year-old Christie rebuked Iowa’s Rep. Steve King for his controversial “cantaloupe calves” comment. He said he hasn’t been asked to campaign for King, though he didn’t rule it out.

King, a leading voice in the anti-immigration camp, earlier this month said that for every valedictorian among the children coming to the U.S. from its southern border there is “another 100 who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

“I think it was an awful comment,” Christie said during the Little Ferry event, in which he announced relocation assistance for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy. “I’m shocked by the level of comments from otherwise intelligent people. I’m disappointed in him.”

Moments later, Christie lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential campaign, when asked about Paul’s comment that the governor took a “gimme, gimme, gimme” stance with the federal government following Sandy’s devastation of New Jersey’s coastline on Oct. 29. Paul called Christie “the king of bacon.”

The two have exchanged words since Christie criticized Paul’s Republican’s opposition to warrantless federal surveillance. The governor today said his state sees just 61 cents for every tax dollar it sends to Washington, while Paul’s sees $1.51.

“New Jersey is a donor state,” Christie said.

Paul should cut “pork barrel” spending on Kentucky if he’s concerned about lowering spending, Christie said. “I doubt he will because most Washington politicians are just concerned about bring home the bacon.”

Christie, who’s seeking a second term in November, holds a 30-percentage point lead over Democratic challenger Barbara Buono and today picked up 22 endorsements from Korean-American leaders and groups.

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