Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday encouraged Republicans to debate their views, saying the GOP is "big enough" for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and himself.
"The party is big enough for both of us," Paul said on "Fox News Sunday." "It's big enough for a lot of different Republicans. And this all started with him saying, 'Oh, we don't have room for libertarian Republicans.' The thing is, that's how we grow our party."
Paul's remarks appeared at odds with what Christie said last week about the future of the party.
"We are not a debating society,” the governor said in a remarks at the Republican National Committee's summer meeting. “We are a political operation that needs to win."
Christie and Paul have clashed in recent weeks over national security. Paul said Sunday that to claim there is no room for different ideas in the party is a "big mistake," and that growing the GOP depends upon welcoming different viewpoints into the fold.
"The party in the northeast is shrinking, almost down to nothing," Paul said. "They need to be looking to people with new and different ideas."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on ABCs' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," "a healthy family debate is not a bad thing at all."
Updated at 11:58 a.m.