New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is not particularly fond of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), saying in a recent interview that he is full of "hot air."
The new governor said he did not appreciate Lautenberg's criticism of his decision to cancel an $8.7. billion rail tunnel project that has been planned for more than a decade.
“All he knows how to do is blow hot air," Christie said in a profile published in New York Magazine. "So I don’t really care what Frank Lautenberg has to say about much of anything."
Christie has become a nationally popular political figure in part due to his willingness to bluntly take on his political opponents, though he has mainly taken aim at state legislators, not members of Congress.
Lautenberg opened the conflict with Christie last month by calling his decision, "One of the biggest public policy blunders in New Jersey’s history."
The state was forced to return nearly $300 million it had received for the project to the federal government out of a $3 billion commitment.
Lautenberg chief of staff Dan Katz fired back at Christie, saying "That quote says much more about the governor than it does about Sen. Lautenberg."
Some believe Christie could run for president in 2012 because his popularity is at a high and he has demonstrated his national appeal by campaigning and fundraising for political candidates around the country.
But the governor recently tamped down rumors, saying, "Short of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running."
As for Lautenberg, Christie said he would willing to work with the 86-year-old senator if he puts forward ideas that "make sense."
"I’m always willing to read something in the paper that he said, and if he makes sense, I’m happy to work with him on it," he said. "I haven’t found one yet."
This post was updated at 2:25 p.m.