Smith's comments come a day after Lautenberg, 89, died. Within hours, speculation began on whom New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) would pick to succeed Lautenberg. Christie can also set a date for a special election for someone to finish Lautenberg's term.

"Well, he will always make up his own mind," Smith said of Christie during an interview on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal." "But I think frankly we need to be mourning the passing of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Any talk about who gets picked for the seat and all of those political considerations has to be put aside during this period of mourning for the senator."

Smith praised Lautenberg's work on transportation and healthcare.

"Anytime you fly on an airplane, and it's smoke free, and the flight attendants will tell you how glad they are especially, it is because of legislation that was offered by Sen. Frank Lautenberg to take smoking off of airplanes because of its hazards to human health."