Talk to early presidential state or Washington operatives and you hear the same thing over and over about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential prospects: He’s the second coming of Rudy Giuliani.
National Democrats have given the idea new life the past week, looking to ding Christie after allowing him to coast to reelection untouched. But the comparison is hardly new: Republicans have invoked it for years, and not in a favorable way – intimating Christie is too provincial and, like the former New York mayor, will prove too liberal to win his party’s presidential nomination. Even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has made the analogy privately in conversations.
It’s become a proxy for the debate among Republicans about whether Christie will have staying power in Republican primaries dominated by social conservatives and tea party activists.
The comparison rankles Christie supporters, but there is some truth to it. Both are tough-talking ex-prosecutors from the tri-state area. Christie is being cast as the moderate in a potential 2016 primary, just as Giuliani was before he bowed out of the 2008 running. And they’re allies: the only person Christie asked to stump for him in both his gubernatorial campaigns was Giuliani.
But the parallels only go so far. Christie approaches a potential presidential campaign in a stronger position to appeal to the conservative base. He has the look of a much better national candidate than Giuliani was.
Here’s a closer look at how the two stack up. Read more at Politico.