A very public squabble between two top Republican politicians who might be leading contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination has grabbed clicks online and airtime on cable news.
The war of words between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky over national security, civil liberties and federal spending is also a proxy for the bigger battle for the future of the Republican Party.
Here are five things we're learning from their spat.
1. The fight for the 2016 GOP nomination is under way
It's only the summer of 2013, but the intensity of the exchanges between Christie and Paul makes it feel like late 2015 in some ways, with the start of the caucus and primary season just weeks away.
The back and forth started last week when Christie, at a forum in Colorado with other GOP governors, slammed Paul for his criticism of government surveillance to battle terrorists.
"This strain of libertarianism that's going through parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought," Christie said.
Asked if Paul was one of the people he was pointing toward, Christie added: "You can name any number of people and he's one of them."
Paul pushed back.
"I'm the one trying to grow the party by talking about libertarian ideas of privacy and the Internet and attacking me isn't helping the party. He's hurting the party," Paul said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."
Rep. Peter King of New York, who's also considering a run for the White House, also jumped into the fray with comments critical of the libertarian-leaning senator.
"He wants to retreat from the world. He wants to isolate ourselves, go back to a fortress America," King told Blitzer on Wednesday.
2. This is far from over
While this round may be finished, others are sure to follow.
On Wednesday, Paul made a pitch for the two men to sit down and talk it out, hoping to ease tensions.
"I'm inviting him to a beer -- anytime he would like to come down and sit down at the pub right around the corner from the Senate," Paul said in an interview on Fox News, adding that proposed get-together didn't have to be in the nation's capital.
"We could always negotiate a middle ground like Philadelphia maybe," said Paul.
That didn't seem to fly with the tough-talking governor.
"I'm running for re-election in New Jersey, I don't really have time for that at the moment. If I find myself in Washington, I'll certainly look him up," Christie said in a radio interview on New Jersey 101.5. "But I've got work to do here."
Expect the action to pick up again in the future.
"This is just the beginning. This is not going to stop," CNN Chief National Correspondent John King said.
GOP strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro agreed.
"I think we are going to end up with a Republican primary that looks a lot like a cage match," she said.
3. War of words illustrates bigger battle
Sure, this is about 2016, but it's also about a much bigger fight for the future of the GOP.