PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell addressed the field running for the Republican nomination for President in 2016 and refused to dismiss Donald Trump, like many other pundits in the media have done.

Rendell spoke with Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT and said there is a real chance for Trump to emerge as a serious contender.

 

“He’s trying to appeal to the far right, religious, very conservative voter but, on the other hand, he also appeals to voters who like people who stand up and don’t take any grief and say what they mean. That’s shown by the fact that he’s vaulted into second place in the national polls concerning the whole Republican field.”

He thinks Trump’s message could resonate with the Republican base if he demonstrates he has a strong knowledge of the issues at hand.

“The things he’s said about Mexicans, which are abhorrent to 70-80 percent of America, those are the things that the 15-20 percent that’s in the far right of the Republican party think, that we should build the biggest, tallest, and strongest fence we can at the border. I think he’s got some staying power. In the first debate, he has to do more than create headlines, he’s got to sound like he knows what he’s talking about.”

Rendell also feels the window has closed for Chris Christie and thinks the New Jersey Governor will have a difficult time differentiating himself from the rest of the primary candidates.

“Governor Christie’s timing is not good. In 2012, I think he would’ve been the nominee, not Governor Romney, had he chose to go out and run. Since then, there have been a couple of developments, one of course, Bridgegate, which more is to come. We haven’t heard the end of Bridgegate. Number two is the state’s bond rating has now been downgraded nine times It’s the second worst state in job creation. The unemployment level is much higher than the national average. Those are all difficult things for him to overcome. But worst of all is Jeb Bush and Scott Walker have entered the space of moderate conservative that Chris Christie would’ve needed to occupy almost by himself to have a chance to win in the conservative Republican primary.”