Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz bicker over NSA surveillance legislation in the Senate but Chris Christie blasts them both as weak leaders: ‘Nobody in America cares!’

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Rising Republicans Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz briefly bickered with one another over the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata in the early moments of tonight’s GOP debate.And then New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came in and hushed them both up with a ‘nobody in America cares.”I want to talk to the viewers,’ Christie interjected. ‘If your eyes are glazing over like mine, this is what it’s like to be on the floor of the United States Senate,’ he said, using the moment to tout gubernatorial strength.But it was a big moment for Cruz and Rubio, who have been delivering to their respective supporters coded blows about each other on the NSA issue.This was the first time the candidates were able to say these lines face-to-face.
Cruz was the first to be asked about it, saying that he voted for the USA Freedom Act alongside other proud conservatives.The bill, which was also supported by Democrats and signed by President Obama, gave an expiration date to the program Edward Snowden exposed.Cruz noted that this was data from ‘millions of law-abiding citizens.’The second part of the bill kicked the collection to the telephone companies, which in turn allowed for the searching of cell and internet phone records, Cruz noted.’When you had a terrorist you could only search a relatively narrow slice of numbers, primarily land lines,’ Cruz said.’The USA Freedom Act expands that so now we have cell phones, now we have internet phones, now we have phones terrorists are likely to use and the focus of law enforcement is on targeting the bad guys,’ he continued.’What the Obama Administration keeps getting wrong is that when anything bad happens they focus on law abiding citizens instead of focusing on the bad guys, we need to focus on radical Islamic terrorism andwe need to stop them before they carry out acts of terror,’ Cruz added.Rubio swatted back arguing that the old program was a more valuable tool.’We are now at a time when we need more tools not less tools – and that tool we lost, that metadata program, that was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal,’ Rubio said.But Cruz wasn’t having it.’I would note that Marco knows what he’s saying isn’t true,’  Cruz said, saying Rubio’s attack was ‘Alinsky-like,’ namedropping a popular GOP boogeyman.’And the reason is simple, what he knows is that the old program covered 20-30 percent of phone numbers to search for terrorists,’ Cruz continued. ‘The new program covered nearly 100 percent, that gave us greater ability to stop acts of terrorism and …he knows that.’When Rubio got his 30 seconds to respond, he hinted that Cruz was blabbing too much about America’s capabilities to fight terror.’Let me be very careful answering this because I don’t think national television in front of 50 million people is the place to discuss classified information,’ Rubio said.

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