Could this be a preview of Republican presidential debates in 2016?  Chris Christie is strongly hitching his horse to the post-Sandy response in New Jersey, when he touted that his administration refused to leave anybody behind in the storm’s aftermath.

Rand Paul took an opportunity at a Senate committee hearing yesterday to remind people that Governor Christie used sandy aid money to run political ads with “his mug all over” them.

Via ABC News (h/t Memeorandum):

He didn’t name any names, but it’s clear Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., still has a bone to pick with N.J. Gov. Chris Christie and his “mug” that was all over TV after superstorm Sandy.

During a Senate committee hearing on post-Sandy recovery efforts, Paul asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan whether it was appropriate to use federal relief funds for television ads, a clear jab at the New Jersey Republican who starred in ads touting the Jersey Shore.

“Some of these ads, people running for office put their their mug all over these ads while they’re in the middle of a political campaign,” Paul said at Senate Homeland Security hearing on recovery from superstorm Sandy.  “In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office.  Do ya think there might be a conflict of interest there?”

“That’s a real problem. And that’s why when people who are trying to do good and trying to use taxpayers’ money wisely, they’re offended to see our money spent on political ads,” Paul continued. “That’s just offensive. In New York, you actually have a rule. They’re not allowed to do it. So New York did the same thing, which I still object, but at least they didn’t put someone’s face on the ads and their family, and it looks like a bio ad.”

Christie and his family starred in a television ad campaign called “Stronger Than the Storm” last May encouraging tourists to visit the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of  Sandy.  The ads ran in states beyond New Jersey, and the campaign used money from the $60 billion in federal emergency disaster funding allocated to states affected by Sandy.

New York may not have put Cuomo’s mug on the ads, but they did use $140 million in Sandy aid to run similar tourism-themed ads.

Christie may want to tread lightly on trumpeting Sandy aid efforts, considering a report last month showed that only $700 million of the $60 billion federal aid package had been released.  And apparently a good portion of that was used on commercials.