Washington (CNN) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie escalated the recent war of words between himself and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Saturday, accusing O'Malley of using the feud to elevate his national profile.
O'Malley, a Democrat, has criticized Christie's confrontational and headline-grabbing governing style, calling it a "stand-up routine" and accusing the Republican of being "abusive towards public employees." He has also called Christie a hypocrite over his tough budget talk for skipping a $3 billion payment into the state's pension fund and allowing New Jersey property taxes to increase.
Christie recently dismissed O'Malley's barbs as "pabulum."
He again scoffed at O'Malley while speaking to CNN at the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington.
"I am happy to give Governor O'Malley an opportunity to get his name in The New York Times any time he wants," Christie said. "That's all that's about."
"That's OK, though," he continued. "We are actually doing stuff in New Jersey that deal with bringing costs of government down and cutting budgets and speaking plainly to people, and if criticizing that in the short term helps Governor O'Malley raise his profile, then I am happy to help Governor O'Malley raise his profile."
O'Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, was seated just feet from Christie at the NGA's bipartisan opening session on Saturday. The two men, both rising stars within their respective parties, were separated only by Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, a Democrat.
Also Saturday, Christie continued to brush off speculation that he may seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. He did, however, opine on the state of the race.
Christie said it's still "much too early" to evaluate the strength of the potential Republican field.
"You can't judge the strength or weakness of the field when you don't even know who is in the field," Christie said. "There could people who are saying they're not getting in now but may wind up getting in, and there may be people who are in right now but decide not to run."
Christie and his advisers recently dined with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at the New Jersey governor's mansion, and Christie said a handful of other potential presidential candidates have requested similar sit-downs. But he declined to name names.
"I am not going talk about that," he said. "When I meet with them, I'm sure they will leak it and then you'll know. So why jump the gun, really? Let them do the leaking instead of me."