Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey) isn't letting up in his criticism of presidential rival US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida).
During a talk with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at the World Values Network's headquarters in New York City, the governor said that recent attacks on his record from a super PAC allied with Rubio were surprising, since the governor has been nice to his presidential rival.
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"Marco has been critical of me and I've been very nice to Marco, so I'm confused," Christie said.
Christie then mocked Rubio's campaign, implying that the senator was being coached into going after Christie.
"He was very self-righteous on the stage in the debate a few months ago when Jeb criticized him. He said, 'Just because we're running for the same office, someone has convinced you that being critical of me helps you.' And now all of a sudden he's being very critical of me, so I guess the same person who was talking to Jeb has been talking to Marco," Christie said.
The governor also repeatedly compared Rubio to US President Barack Obama, saying that like Obama, Rubio's short tenure in the Senate has left him unprepared to take office.
See photos of Marco Rubio as he campaigns for the nomination:
"I don't think he's naive, I just think he's inexperienced," Christie said. "Listen, we've already seen what happens when a first-term United States senator becomes president of the United States."
We don't need a replay of the last seven years. And a first-term United States senator, that's not the preparation to be commander in chief of the largest military in the world, and executive in chief of the most complex government the world has ever known.
See photos of Chris Christie on the campaign trail:
Though the governor's support has languished for months — a super PAC dedicated to opposing Christie disbanded after it appeared that Christie's campaign was dead in the water — recently he's experienced a dramatic turnaround in state polls in New Hampshire, a key primary state.
The governor's favorable ratings have also improved significantly in other nominating states, even if his support hasn't necessarily registered.
Adrian Gray, a prominent right-leaning political strategist, pointed out that Christie's net-favorable numbers have improved in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, the first three nominating states.
Christie’s net fav in IA, NH, SC
Aug: -15, -2, -18
Now: +9, +34, +11 https://t.co/M7LeZLbpFA
— Adrian Gray (@adrian_gray) January 6, 2016
Christie's favorable ratings seemingly haven't gone unnoticed by rival campaigns.
Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's respective super PACs have run ads slamming Christie's record.
In an interview with The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe, Bush said that his gubernatorial record is far better than Christie's.
"Our pension was never raided to pay for the current obligations," Bush said, a reference to New Jersey's pension crisis.
We actually put constraints on making sure that the employer portion of the pension obligations was always funded. We put a reserving policy in that when I left, my successor had $9.5 billion of reserves — not many politicians do that except for committed conservatives with a proven record.