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Make a note as this will be a recurring theme on the GOP side heading into 2016. The hawkish brand of conservatism versus the libertarian non-interventionist brand of conservatism. Both will be on display in a variety of degrees given the gambit of candidates likely to run.

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Report from Politico:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is ripping libertarians — including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — for challenging government surveillance programs and failing to understand the dangers of terrorism.

“This strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought,” the New Jersey GOP governor said on Thursday at a Republican governors forum in Aspen, Colo. “You can name any number of people and (Paul is) one of them.”

“These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have,” Christie said.

“The next attack that comes, that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are going to be looking back on the people having this intellectual debate and wondering whether they put …” Christie said before trailing off.

Rand Paul’s office wasted no time in immediately responding to Christie, report on that from the Washington Times:

“If Governor Christie believes the constitutional rights and the privacy of all Americans is ‘esoteric,’ he either needs a new dictionary, or he needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years,” Paul senior adviser Doug Stafford told The Washington Times.

GOP primary voters will be faced with choosing a course for 2016 and it looks like they’ll be getting some robust debate on this topic before the campaign even begins.

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