MANCHESTER N.H. – In some of his toughest comments to date about former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey governor Chris Christie suggested that it would be damaging for the Republican party if they nominated a third Bush for president.
When asked about Bush, Christie was cautious about criticizing the man he frequently calls a personal friend, but warned that elections should be about “tomorrow” and not “yesterday.”
“Winning campaigns are always about tomorrow and never about yesterday,” he said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News after an event here in New Hampshire.
Based on what he’s heard from voters in New Hampshire, Christie explained that people wanted a fresh face in the Oval Office, not one connected to the past.
“You know people want the campaign to be about the challenges and the opportunities of tomorrow and not a recitation of American history,” he said. “And when I think that you get folks that are so closely aligned with previous presidents, that problem is almost unavoidable.”
Early in the race, Bush launched an aggressive campaign to sign up major supporters and donors in the Republican establishment, luring away donors who had considered Christie their first choice in the past. Media fueled doubts about Christie’s electability under the cloud of “Bridgegate” hastened many members of the establishment to rush to Bush, earning the former governor piles of cash.
Last week when he was questioned about Bush’s early fundraising success on Fox News, Christie pointed out that it was obvious that Jeb was benefiting from his family ties.
“Listen, if the son and the brother of a former president doesn’t get establishment support, then he shouldn’t even be in the ring,” Christie said during an appearance on Fox’s The Five — asserting that he had enough money to be competitive in the race.
Christie argued that Bush was always expected to sew up a huge portion of the established Republican fundraisers.
“No one thought anybody was going to raise as much as Jeb Bush, but you know, if that much money really mattered and determined it, you know Steve Forbes would be president, too,” he said.
Last week the Bush campaign boasted to the New York Times that Bush raised over half a million dollars in the State of New Jesery in just two events in one day — one of which was hosted by Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets.
Christie has warily gone after Bush, careful not to draw too much negative attention to his campaign.
In April, Christie lightly criticized Bush after the former Florida governor stumbled over whether going into the Iraq war was a mistake and suggested that Jeb’s campaign had “slowed down pretty significantly.”
That proved to be wishful thinking on Christie’s part in April, but now both candidates are likely more concerned about Donald Trump’s popularity spike in New Hampshire.
Christie rarely discusses Donald Trump without mentioning that he has been friends with the New York billionaire for thirteen years. When asked if the media was largely responsible for raising Trump’s profile, Christie declined.
“I’m not blaming the media for Donald Trump,” he said. “Candidates are ultimately responsible for what comes out of their mouths.”
Christie declined to criticized Trump directly, but said that the firebrand candidate was following his own path.
“He’s going to be as serious a candidate as he wants to be,” Christie said, referring to Trump. “If he wants to be a serious candidate, Donald certainly has the brains and the resources — I don’t just mean financial, but access to people who are experts in every area of concern in the country — to be able to be a briefed serious candidate.”
“Or he could just decide to be an entertainer,” Christie added. “But that’s his choice.”