Rick Perry and Chris Christie share something in common: no presidential chance after huge national blunders. For Perry, it was his painful three-month campaign that can be summed up with “oops”. For Chris Christie, it's the burgeoning and widening scandal of Christie's office purposely blocking a bridge to get back at political opponents. Instead of commiserating together, it appears that both larger-than-life governors are at each other's warbling throats.
They've both gone at each other. “He was a successful governor in New Jersey,” Perry said on ABC's “This Week” right after Christie's 2013 re-election. “Now does that transcend to the country? We'll see in later years and months to come. We're all different states. Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country?” It's not hard to intuit Perry's answer.
And Christie's apparently been talking trash right back long before then, something Perry's aware of. During the 2012 primaries, Christie made clear that he thought Perry shouldn't be president. “Christie was unequivocal in saying that the Perry he had gotten to know, while a nice guy, was not suited for the presidency,” a Republican familiar with the conversations told CNN. “That was not kept a secret. He was pretty comfortable telling people that. Major donors, other governors and the like. That quickly got back to Perry.”
More below the jump.Last week, Texas Republicans avoided Christie during his RGA fundraising trip to the Lone Star State. The chairman of the state Republican party even said Christie doesn't have any grassroots support in Texas. But just two months ago, Christie was the star Republican governor, and most experts' prediction for the GOP's 2016 presidential nominee. The golden-boy-governor position is one Perry himself occupied before 2012, though with a different hook. Perry was the gun-toting tea party darling who touted a “Texas Miracle,” and that image crashed with his campaign. Afterwards, Christie rose with his brash, comfortable, get-it-done Yankee Republican image. It couldn't have pleased Perry that Christie endorsed Romney in the 2012 primary.
“Perry had gotten used to being everyone's favorite governor,” said a GOP strategist . “Everyone loved the guy and he could raise a lot of money. And he took it hard that it didn't translate to presidential support. When he came back on the RGA scene, he showed up, and guess who everybody's favorite governor was? Chris Christie. A new guy with a lot of swagger and fundraising ability. And he was from New Jersey.”
In November, their opposition to one another played out in the Republican Governors Association. Christie, then-incoming chairman of the RGA, moved to put Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the executive committee, a spot outgoing chairman Bobby Jindal of Louisiana wanted to give to Perry. And Perry was really upset. From CNN:
“Perry got wind of this, got pissed, and started calling all these governors,” said one Republican consultant who witnessed the intense executive committee campaign that soon followed.
Another operative familiar with the incident said: “Why keep a governor who has been the most prolific fundraiser in the history of the governors association and from a huge donor state off the executive committee? It was strictly a power play by Christie.”
Eventually, Perry's maneuvering convinced the organization to add an executive committee seat so he and Pence could serve simultaneously. Some say the whole incident was overblown. Whatever the truth is, there's a rift — and it's one that those who couldn't be paid to support either blowhard can sit back and enjoy. The chance of either of these bickering men becoming a presidential nominee, no less a president, is slim to none.