01/11/2014 01:56 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The GOP's Tarnished Golden Boys

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For a while, Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell were untouchable.

The first major Republicans elected after the 2008 Obama landslide, the tough-as-nails Garden Stater and the straight-edged Virginian heralded the conservative resurgence in 2010 and pointed the way toward sweeping victories for small-government candidates on the state level. A year ago, both seemed like plausible and even probable 2016 presidential candidates, two representatives of a fresher GOP, anchored in fiscal discipline, support for states’ rights and opposition to public labor.

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