WASHINGTON — Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said Sunday that he and Governor Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, will continue to disagree over national security and other issues, but the party is big enough to accommodate both men’s views.
‘‘There’s room for people who believe in bigger government in our party,’’ Paul said, in an reference to Christie. The New Jersey governor is considered a moderate whose views on government spending differ sharply from the libertarian Paul’s.
The two men, potential rivals for president in 2016, have been sparring for weeks.
Paul said in an interview on ‘‘Fox News Sunday’’ that Republicans should concentrate on expanding the party instead of bickering.
He said the GOP ‘‘is shrinking almost down to nothing’’ in the Northeast, Christie’s home base, and needs people with new ideas to attract independents and Democrats.
Christie has agreed to expand state’s Medicaid program under President Obama’s health care overhaul, while some other Republican governors have refused to do so. He also signed a law increasing pension and health costs for public workers.
Christie’s tendency to put pragmatism before party labels is considered a potential strength in a presidential election, but it could be a weakness in the race for his party’s nomination.