Christie: Elements of the tea party are "Republicans at their best"

“The core of the tea party movement, as I understand it, I think is consistent with good Republican conservatism,” Christie said.

But Christie added that when some people try to use the tea party movement to try to enhance themselves politically, it can get “perverted.”

“Some of the stuff that’s happened of late down in Washington is not even consistent with what a lot of the real folks who started the tea party movement would agree with,” Christie said.

He didn’t specify whether he was talking about the 16-day government shutdown that gave Republicans a black eye. But he sounded as if he might be alluding to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas earlier in the interview when he said, “Sometimes I feel like our party cares more about winning the argument than they care about winning elections.”