Atlantic City, N.J. Mayor Lorenzo Langford, left, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right. (AP Photos)
The mayor of Atlantic City, N.J. said Tuesday he'd like to go "mano-a-mano" with Gov. Chris Christie after Christie publicly criticized him over the city's preparations for Hurricane Sandy.
Mayor Lorenzo Langford said on NBC's "Today" that Christie was "either misinformed and ill-advised or simply decided to prevaricate" when he accused him the day before of sending mixed messages to residents by opening shelters in the city despite Christie's orders to fully evacuate. Atlantic City was hammered by the storm.
"That is not what happened," said Langford. "Here we are in the throes of a major catastrophe and the governor has chosen such a time as this to play politics. I think it's reprehensible that he would stoop to the level to try to make a political situation out of something that is so serious as this situation."
Repeating that Christie's statement was "absolutely false," Langford said most residents fortunately did heed the repeated warnings to flee, but "it's better to have options" for the people who didn't.
"We had a contingency plan in place," he said.
NBC's Matt Lauer said they would try to arrange a time to get both Langford and Christie on the air together at the same time.
"I would love nothing better than that, than to confront the governor mano-a-mano," Langford said.
For his part, Christie stood by his criticism of Langford on Tuesday, telling CBS' "This Morning" that "the mayor told folks they could shelter in city shelters as a last resort" and "we knew this was a real potential problem."
"I don't know why he did what he did," Christie said, adding that his concern was now focused on the residents still trapped in the city.
The two have battled before: Christie, a Republican, said earlier this month that Langford, a Democrat, is "impossible to work with in any kind of significant way.” Langford hit back that Christie as governor has "failed miserably to abate" crime problems.