Republicans Who Love to Hate Chris Christie

PHOTO: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visits Jose Marti Freshman Academy in Union City, N.J. Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, the day after defeating Democratic challenger Barbara Buono to win his second term as governor.
Rich Schultz / AP Photo

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie glided easily toward a second term this month. And as soon as he put the race in the "win" column, the speculation about his ambitions for higher office kicked into high gear.

When asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos in a recent interview whether he intended to serve out the full four years of his second gubernatorial term, Christie was coy.

"I don't know," Christie said. "I'm going to continue to do my job and finish the job. But [for] everybody who is trying to figure out what life is going to bring you a few years from now, I didn't expect to be sitting here four years ago, George. So nobody can make those predictions."

Both before and after his landslide re-election victory, several prominent Republicans have questioned the charismatic governor's policies and his chances as a potential GOP presidential contender in 2016. Though Christie is still seen as one of the Republican presidential short-listers, many members of his own party are wary of his more moderate stances on such issues as immigration and gun control.

ABC News has compiled a list (not exhaustive) of some of the Republicans who have openly expressed doubts about Christie.

1. Rick Perry

In a recent interview with ABC's Jeff Zeleny, Perry said it's no guarantee that a New Jersey conservative like Christie could be palatable to conservatives across the country. "Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country?... We'll have that discussion at the appropriate time."

2. Newt Gingrich

In an interview with Jonathan Martin of The New York Times, the former House speaker questioned Christie's conservative bona fides. "No. I don't think Chris Christie has any interest in bridging that divide because he'll run as an aggressive, Northeastern moderate who can get something done. I don't see him using conservative language. He might be able to get nominated, but it will be running as a personality leader, not a movement leader."

3. Rand Paul

During a discussion with CBS Philly's Dom Giordano, Sen. Rand Paul was asked why he thought Christie won re-election in New Jersey. Paul's response gave Christie no credit and suggested Christie acted inappropriately in the wake of superstorm Sandy. "Well, his victory was, in large form, based on that he got a lot of federal money for his state. ... It's one thing if you want to put your image on TV and say, 'I'm gonna give a million dollars of my money to help Sandy ... ,' but you're getting somebody else's money, and if you're doing that, should you then take part of that money to promote how good you are at getting somebody else's money to come to New Jersey?"

4. Ted Cruz

The Texas firebrand praised Christie in an interview with ABC's Jeff Zeleny before he questioned whether the New Jersey governor was ready for the national stage. "I think it is terrific that he is brash, that he is outspoken and that he won his race. ... But I think we need more leaders in Washington with the courage to stand for principle. And in particular, Obamacare is not working."

5. Marco Rubio

The GOP point-man on immigration reform told CNN's Dana Bash in early November that Christie's recent re-election victory doesn't mean anything for his 2016 chances. "I think we need to understand that some of these races don't apply to future races. Every race is different -- it has a different set of factors -- but I congratulate [Christie] on his win."

6. Jim Inhofe

The Oklahoma Republican senator was very blunt in his criticisms of Christie in a recent interview with The Oklahoman. "I'd have a hard time supporting Chris Christie. ... I'm of the school that you've got to show a distinction between Democrats and Republicans. And in order to have the base energized, you've got to show that the party stands for something. Christie I still hold responsible for ... the re-election of Obama."

7. Sarah Palin

When CNN's Jake Tapper asked former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin about criticisms being levied at Christie's weight, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate didn't pull any punches. "That's because it's been extreme. So it's hard for some people not to comment on it."

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