Republican Gov. Chris Christie's landslide re-election victory Tuesday in Democratic New Jersey led Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch to make comparisons to former President Ronald Reagan to Newsmax TV on Wednesday.
"I remember they said the same things about Ronald Reagan," Hatch, the longest-serving GOP senator, said in recounting some of Reagan's early challenges in an exclusive interview to Newsmax, including Reagan's 1980 loss in the Iowa caucuses to George H.W. Bush. "Everybody came to love Reagan once he got in there."
"People have learned to love Christie because he took over one of the most corrupt states in the union — and one of the most liberal states in the union, totally dominated by Democrats — and turned it around, balanced the budget, and got the state on its feet again," Hatch said. "That's the kind of leadership we need in this country."
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"The guy is a straight-shooter. He's a tough talker. He doesn't mince words, and yet he's got the right kind of compassion and other things that really make him a great leader. I believe that Christie will make a great candidate for president."
Christie, who has been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for the White House in 2016, on Tuesday trounced his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, 60.5 percent to 38 percent, according to The Star-Ledger
A third of the state's Democratic voters backed Christie, leading him to become the first Republican to take more than 50 percent of the popular vote in a statewide election since President H.W. Bush 25 years ago.
"Christie has shown that he not only gets Republicans, but he gets a number of Democrats," Hatch told Newsmax. "He gets almost 50 percent of Hispanics, and he got 20 percent of African Americans in a state that literally has been Democratic for so long that people have written it off."
"This is a guy [who] has a lot of pizazz — and the Republican Party's really got to look at him very carefully, because he can beat anybody on the Democratic side."
Hatch noted a few other possible strong GOP presidential contenders, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
"The Republican Party has a lot of really good people," Hatch said. "But if you want a tough guy who can appeal to everybody, Christie certainly looks very good after this win."
Editor's Note: Read the full Newsmax interview with Sen. Orrin Hatch:
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