Thursday night's first Republican presidential debate covered a variety of subjects, from defunding Planned Parenthood to immigration reform, and candidates Chris Christie and Rand Paul's beef on the subject of national security made for a heated confrontation.
Host Megyn Kelly asked the governor of New Jersey about his accusation that Kentucky senator Paul's opposition to the NSA collection of phone records has made the U.S "weaker and more vulnerable," and that Paul should answer for this opposition before Congress, should our country be hit by another terrorist attack.
Christie doubled down on this stance, saying that he was the only person on that stage who prosecuted terrorists in this country following September 11, and who has dealt with the real aftermath of that attack.
"It happened in my state. This isn't theoretical to me. I went to the funerals," Christie said. "I will make no apologies ever for protecting the lives and the safety of the American people. We have to give our people more tools to do that, not fewer."
Paul responded, "I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans." He accused Christie of fundamentally misunderstanding the Bill of Rights, and said that he would continue to stand for the protection of the privacy of law-abiding American citizens. The two continued to spar (and Paul continued to roll his eyes until he nearly dislocated them) until host Kelly moved on.
Paul's Tea Party-friendly stance on this issue is in stark opposition to Christie's, and likely in opposition to the majority of the candidates in the Republican field — the question is, which point of view do American citizens empathize with?