New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) came to Baltimore on Sunday night to rally supporters of Larry Hogan, a fellow Republican trying to become the next governor of Maryland.
But Christie clearly had the current governor on his mind as well.
Christie told a crowd of a few hundred people gathered at a bingo hall that he had read “something very interesting today on the way in from the airport.” It was a Washington Post article in which Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is term-limited and not on the ballot this year, said he was “a little nervous” about the Election Day prospects of his hand-picked successor, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D).
“I want to look directly at the camera and talk to my friend Marty,” Christie said, to the delight of the crowd.
“Hey Marty — don’t waste your time being nervous. Just get ready to clear out your office and turn it over to Larry Hogan.”
As the boisterous applause started to subside, Christie continued: “I mean, don’t you just love it. Big, bad Marty O’Malley. Big, big taxing Marty O’Malley. Big spending Marty O’Malley. And in two days, big loser Marty O’Malley.”
On Sunday night, O’Malley spokeswoman Lis Smith said that “Marylanders will decide this election based on results, not bizarre taunts.” She said voters would elect Brown, who has been O’Malley’s deputy for eight years, “because he is the right leader to build an even better Maryland for more Marylanders.”
Asked on Monday morning about Christie’s remarks, O’Malley said: “God bless his heart. I don’t really have any comment on it.”
There is no love lost between the governors of New Jersey and Maryland, both of whom are contemplating 2016 presidential runs. Christie is the current chairman of the Republican Governors Association; O’Malley served for two years as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
During his tenure at the DGA, O’Malley frequently used Christie as Exhibit A in talking about what he considered the misplaced priorities of Republican governors.
In a 2011 speech, for example, O’Malley derided what he called “a new breed of tea-partying, FDR-hating” governors who had recently come to power, singling out Christie for additional scorn. O’Malley called Christie a “colorful character,” saying he lived in a “make-believe world, where down is up, up is down, candy is a vegetable, and vegetables are candy.”
The New Jersey governor has been in the news a lot lately for his tendency to make blunt comments. That includes telling a protester to “sit down and shut up” last week during a commemoration in Belmar, N.J., of the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
Christie has also used the “loser” label on other politicians besides O’Malley.
During a recent appearance Florida, he said this of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, according to press reports: “Charlie always liked to have a title, right, as Attorney General Crist and then Governor Crist and then candidate for the United States Senate Crist. But he’s gone without a title for a while. So I suggest in nine days we give Charlie what he wants. What he wants is a title. Let’s give it to him: Loser. Loser on Nov. 4.”