Christie’s problem, Shaftan said, is that “if you want a moderate, you’ve got Jeb Bush. If you want someone standing up to unions, you’ve got Scott Walker. If you want someone who appeals to Latinos, you’ve got Rubio. If you want someone who’s against Obama, you’ve got Cruz. Where’s [Christie’s] niche?”
But it’s not just about tactics, it’s also about patience.
“I think some people have to make some big mistakes,” a Christie confidant told me. “I think some other people have to be shown more fallible. That’s still yet to happen, [but] the intense laser focus hasn’t been on Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or Rand Paul.”
Christie’s now years-long national vetting has harmed him, but it has a benefit: Most of his skeletons are already out of the closet, whereas the digging has yet to begin for many of his competitors. “It’s been a very tough media cycle for 16 months. That’ll come for everybody,” another Christie insider said. The source laughed: “Rubio’s got a tough story on the front page of The New York Times today—we’ve had 100 of those.”