Meet the Press   |  August 18, 2013

Christie, Paul conflict hits RNC stage

The faceoff between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul entered the RNC limelight at its summer meeting.

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>>> we're back with the roundtable talking 2016 politics in the heat of august here. the republicans now, very interesting this week, chris christie making a lot of noise, the rnc meeting in boston talking about debates. here was chris christie addressing the rnc meeting on thursday, sounding very much like a candidate when he said, "i think we have some folks who believe that our job is to be college professors," rand paul i think is who he meant. "for our ideas to matter, we have to win, because if we don't win, we don't govern, if we don't govern, all we do is shout into the wind, and so, i am going to do anything i need to do to win." rich lowry , also jonathan martin of the "the new york times" saying this morning that you see from christie something close to what george w. bush did in 1998 , shoring up support among hispanics, african-americans, even as he was seeking re-election in texas in '98, trying to get the broader appeal for the party. it worked for him in 2000 .

>> this debate with rand paul i think is a little sterile, because you have the rand paul camp saying the party needs principles. well, of course it does, because any party without principles is rudderless and passive. and you have chris christie saying you need power and a compelling governing agenda. well, of course you do because that's the only way you effect your principles. so it's not either/or. it's both. i think what christie is after is the george w. bush model saying this is a model for the presidential race and what he would hope to do is cement that establishment slot in the primary and hope he's facing a divided field on the right. and if history is any guide, that's a pretty good way to win a republican no, ma'am nation.

>> robert gibbs ?

>> and the peatwathway may have gotten a little clearer, because the rnc did a very savvy thing this week, right? first of all, they're working the reps on these hillary documentaries and specials, right? brens preevs is running the script so when a script goes into production, somebody will say make this scene tougher. the second thing he's doing is cutting down markedly on the number of debates, which became the roman colosseum of republican politics last time, which are populated in huge auditoriums where activists want more and more and more. and it becomes you run for president in order to get a radio talk show when you don't win the nomination. if those things fall a bit by the wayside, you've moderated the process a bit, the establishment candidates have more control over this. probably a better week for chris christie than it was for ted cruz or rand paul .