On Some Issues, Paul And Christie Sound A Lot Alike

It's been a year since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky started taking jabs at each other, staking out their ideological territory within the Republican Party.

But the two potential presidential contenders have also been singing the same tune on a few issues as they get closer to 2016.

They've been vocal advocates for sentencing reform for nonviolent, drug offenders. On politics, they've bluntly urged Republicans to campaign in unfamiliar territory. And on social issues, both sometimes take an "agree to disagree" approach.

Experts say the two are finding common ground, but all three categories fall under the same umbrella: broadening the Republican Party, a narrative that many Republicans support.

"Both men have their eyes squarely fixed on the next presidential election, but they're also trying to nudge the party as a whole to follow suit in an effort to expand the tent," said GOP strategist Ford O'Connell.

Such a strategy will benefit Christie and Paul if they campaign for the White House. But if they become opponents in the GOP primary, they'll continue to work to differentiate themselves and corner off their own parts of the GOP electorate.

They're just both hoping that that electorate will be a lot bigger by the time 2016 rolls around.

They likely still view each other as their own antithesis, said O'Connell and they will surely butt heads on a full slate of topics, such as foreign policy, government spending and civil liberties.

"You're starting to see them relatively agree on some issues," he said. "But they're still perfect foils for one another."

Read more from Ashley Killough at CNN.com

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Analysis & Political Strategy