Kristol: Huckabee Would Probably Beat Christie in a GOP Primary

Kristol: Huckabee Would Probably Beat Christie in a GOP Primary

On Monday’s “Crossfire” on CNN, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, along with Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen and “Crossfire” hosts S.E. Cupp and Van Jones debated the political strength of embattled Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ).

Partial transcript as follows:

JONES: He’s the Republican party’s big superstar. 

KRISTOL: He’s not. In the world you move into liberal media and rich donors, Christie is the favorite. But he’s not the actual favorite among Republican voters. Look at all the polls.

Mike — Mike Huckabee would beat Chris Christie right now for the Republican nomination, which isn’t to say that Chris Christie wouldn’t be a strong candidate, as well. Scott Walker would be a strong candidate. Mike Pence would be a strong candidate. 

ROSEN: Democrats think — 

KRISTOL: Democrats think. Democrats — 

JONES: You’re throwing him under the bus already.

ROSEN: I’m going to agree with you because I think, actually, if Democrats overplay this, all we’re going to do is make conservatives who have hated Chris Christie actually like him. 

KRISTOL: Let me just say this. I was in the first Bush White House. We lost terribly in ’92, and I remember this chortling in December of ’91 when Mario Cuomo, the Democratic superstar, said, “I’m not running.” And I remember “Clinton? This guy from Arkansas? Are you kidding?” 

I remember, I said, to my credit, and my boss, Dan Quayle, was very strong (ph) about this, said, “Don’t underestimate the guy. He’s a pretty good politician. He got elected in a state that’s full of conservatives.” 

JONES: This is fascinating. Suddenly everybody is running for the hills away from this guy. Hey, listen — 

KRISTOL: I’m not. 

CUPP: Not everybody. 

KRISTOL: I’m defending him. I’m happy to defend him. He deserves due process. He’s been a good governor. He’s been a good governor. And also the charge is bullying? Really? Is that a serious charge. If there’s a law that’s been broken, obviously, that needs to be investigated. JONES: First of all, both of these things would be — both of these things would be illegal, and we both know it. You’ve been around this game for a very long time. A very, very, very long time. 

KRISTOL: Surprisingly long time. 

JONES: Chris Christie has to be born on — he’s got to be born on Krypton to be able to do all these things at the same time. He’s got to run the state. He’s got to run the Republican Governors Association. He’s got to run for president, and he’s got to deal now with a federal investigation. How can one man do all of these things at the same time? 

Don’t you think he should at least step down from the Republican Governors Association and focus on this crisis? 

KRISTOL: No, he should focus most of all on running the state. I’ve always thought that. I like Chris Christie, incidentally, but he was re-elected governor of New Jersey. And it’s going to be important to his future ambitions that he does a good job, actually, as governor of New Jersey. 

He should cooperate with the investigation. I think he has plenty of time to go around the country and raise a little money for other Republican gubernatorial candidates. He should not run for president in 2014. I don’t think he was doing that anyway.

(h/t The Raw Story)