Politics

Christie Says Marco Still Backs Amnesty

'He's not for enforcing the law'

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s on-again, off-again embrace of liberalized immigration reform will definitely be “on” again once more if he becomes president.

Christie made his comments on “The Laura Ingraham Show” one day before New Hampshire voters head to the polls for the first-in-the-nation primary. Christie rejected his GOP presidential rival’s argument that he would enforce immigration law.


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“The problem is that he’s not for enforcing the law, and there’s nothing in his record that proves he is,” Christie said. “In fact, what’s in his record is that he signed on for an amnesty bill that would allow for legalization and citizenship for people who came here illegally. And he ran away from it as soon as the heat got hot. But you can be sure he’ll run right back to it if he’s elected president of the United States, because his big donors, that’s what they want.”

Christie was referring to a 2013 bill that Rubio sponsored with seven other senators that would have offered a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. It passed the upper chamber, but died in the House of Representatives. Rubio has been trying ever since to square his participation in that effort with intense opposition among Republican voters.

Christie, who bloodied Rubio at Saturday’s GOP debate, is among the worst-funded of the top-tier candidates. But he said he the past two days have been his best in terms of fundraising.

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“It made a huge difference,” he said, reflecting on the debate. “It blew the race wide open.”

But even if conventional wisdom is right that the debate damaged Rubio, it does not guarantee that Christie will be the beneficiary. Other candidates are lurking, including erstwhile front-runner former Florida Jeb Bush. The New Jersey governor said neither man can match his experience of daily battles with a hostile, Democratic-controlled legislature. He compared it to the daily struggles average Americans face.

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“We need a fighter in the White House again, someone who knows about trials and tribulations like they’re being (tested) every day, so I can relate to what their life is all about,” he said. “Folks like Jeb Bush can’t relate to their life. They just can’t, and neither can Marco Rubio.”

Christie outlined a four-point plan to kickstart stagnant middle-class wages. He said he would start by repealing President Obama’s executive orders on immigration and then reform a tax code that he says is “rigged for the rich.” He said he would reject multinational trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and would enforce the law.

Christie dismissed the notion that he came off as a bully during the debate with Rubio.

“If holding someone accountable for whether they’re prepared or not to be president of the United States is inappropriate, then we might as well just cancel campaigns,” he said. “The fact is that if he thinks that’s bad, wait till he gets on the stage against Hillary Clinton in October or November if he were the (GOP) nominee.”

Christie said the debate vindicated his days-long line of attack that Rubio has been “handled” by advisers who shield him from having to answer tough questions. Christie argued that he, by contrast, has been tested in the crucible of the New York-New Jersey media.

“No matter how bright the lights are, I won’t melt,” he said. “I’ll shine.”

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