Rand Paul's peace offering to Chris Christie: A fried Twinkie

Two of the biggest stars in the GOP, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Iowa Sen. Rand Paul, are locked in a feud over national security programs that is starting to feel like a Republican primary campaign. Chip Reid reports.

Amid an escalating war of words, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., a deep-fried olive branch of sorts on Wednesday.

It’s safe to say Christie won’t be greeting Paul’s entreaty with open arms.

During an interview with Iowa radio host Simon Conway, Paul was asked about his feud with the governor, and he insisted he’s been trying to make amends.

“I've been trying to get him to go out for a beer with me anyway, so maybe you can get that organized," Paul said. "Or if there's a state fair, we can go for a fried Twinkie."

Christie, who has struggled with his weight for years, underwent a weight loss procedure known as lap band surgery in February. Since then, he’s said he’s “more than halfway” to his target weight, and his cardiologist has assessed that he is “fit to serve” as governor.

Paul and Christie are both considered strong potential contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. They’ve traded blows throughout 2013, and an earlier spat prompted Paul to offer to share a beer with Christie and “patch things up.” Christie declined, citing his busy schedule.

Their ongoing row has become something of a proxy for the broader struggle for power within the Republican Party. Christie, a more moderate Northeast Republican with a hawkish bent on defense issues, has slammed Paul’s opposition to government surveillance as “dangerous.” He’s also critiqued Paul’s reluctance to quickly dispense disaster relief funds with no strings attached to the Northeast, which was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Paul, a libertarian budget hawk who hails from the upstart, tea party wing of the GOP, has assailed Christie’s record on fiscal issues, recently condemning the governor’s decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act as “not fiscally conservative.” And in response to Christie’s criticism about disaster aid, Paul accused Christie of adopting a “gimme, gimme, gimme” perspective on federal money, labeling the governor the “king of bacon.”

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