Rand Paul Takes a Swipe at Chris Christie for Sandy Ads
(WASHINGTON) — He didn’t name any names, but it’s clear Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., still has a bone to pick with N.J. Gov. Chris Christie and his “mug” that was all over TV after superstorm Sandy.
During a Senate committee hearing on post-Sandy recovery efforts, Paul asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan whether it was appropriate to use federal relief funds for television ads, a clear jab at the New Jersey Republican who starred in ads touting the Jersey Shore.
“Some of these ads, people running for office put their mug all over these ads while they’re in the middle of a political campaign,” Paul said at a Senate Homeland Security hearing on recovery from superstorm Sandy. “In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. Do ya think there might be a conflict of interest there?”
“That’s a real problem. And that’s why when people who are trying to do good and trying to use taxpayers’ money wisely, they’re offended to see our money spent on political ads,” Paul continued. “That’s just offensive. In New York, you actually have a rule. They’re not allowed to do it. So New York did the same thing, which I still object, but at least they didn’t put someone’s face on the ads and their family, and it looks like a bio ad.”
Christie and his family starred in a television ad campaign called “Stronger Than the Storm” last May encouraging tourists to visit the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Sandy. The ads ran in states beyond New Jersey, and the campaign used money from the $60 billion in federal emergency disaster funding allocated to states affected by Sandy.
At the time, the ad campaign drew criticism from Democrats who complained they were funded by taxpayer dollars.
“That Gov. Christie would allow $25 million in federally funded ads to feature him in the middle of an election year is both supremely arrogant and wildly inappropriate,” N.J. State Sen. Barbara Buono, Christie’s gubernatorial opponent, said at the time.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Donovan didn’t seem to have a problem with those types of advertisements, saying they actually contribute to economic development in storm-ravaged areas and “reduce the cost of recovery to the federal government.”
Paul’s swipe is the latest in the ongoing feud between the Kentucky Republican and Christie.
In July, the two bickered over everything from their positions on foreign policy to funding for superstorm Sandy.
“They’re precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending, and their ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme, give me all my Sandy money now,’” Paul said of Christie in July. “Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense.”
At one point, Paul even nicknamed Christie “the king of bacon,” for his use of federal funding in New Jersey. Christie called the namecalling “juvenile.”
“I didn’t call him names, I didn’t use any childish like phrases like he did — gimme gimme gimme — I just assume he’s using me to get attention,” Christie responded at the time.
Paul tried to mend the rift between the two Republicans by proposing that the two spend some time talking over a beer. But Christie declined the offer, saying he was too busy running for governor.
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