New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attends a statewide prayer service in Newark, N.J., Oct. 29, 2013.
Eric Thayer/AP

Cheney chides Christie, defends GOP civil war

Updated

Former vice president Dick Cheney chided Gov. Chris Christie for his literal and figurative embrace of the Democratic president in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. 

“Chris is a promising figure,” Cheney said, but added that he wasn’t sure if Christie was in the party’s national future. “I watched him operate. I wasn’t a fan of the way he welcomed Barack Obama to New Jersey when the [Sandy] hit… He was the governor of New Jersey. He did what he thought was necessary.”

“I don’t agree with him on a lot of things,” Cheney added. “I’m more conservative than he is.”

Cheney also defended the GOP’s inner battles that have so often pitted Christie against the more conservative outlets of the party as “a sign of dynamism.”

In-party fighting—like his daughter’s challenge to Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi (R)—is just a sign of a healthy debate, Cheney said Monday on Fox Business’ Cavuto.

“It doesn’t worry me, I think it’s a sign of dynamism inside the party. We have people who are mad and angry and want to do something about it looking to the Republican Party for that to be done,” he said, adding that he doesn’t support attacking elected Republicans, but sees an opening for a “new generation” of leadership.

The tea party, he said, are “basically fundamental patriot Americans… they’re deeply concerned about what’s happening for the country. They’re in fear for the constitution.”

He attempted to portray the party’s all-out civil war as an ordinary shift of power—but in what could have been a warning to his daughters or the party, urged the party to keep it quiet.

“We do have controversies inside the party, but what’s new?” Cheney said, likening the party’s battles to those of Gerald Ford’s challenge to a sitting Republican. “I think it’s healthier to have it inside the party than outside.”

Morning Joe, 12/10/13, 7:00 AM ET

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Cheney chides Christie, defends GOP civil war

Updated