Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford deflected accusations from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday morning, vehemently denying charges that he had failed to properly encourage residents to evacuate his city in the face of flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Langford said he wanted to confront Christie "mano-a-mano" to discuss the governor's claims.
In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, Langford was asked to respond to earlier comments from Christie, who alleged the mayor had given some residents of Atlantic City "comfort" to stay, despite Christie's repeated orders to have the city fully evacuated as the superstorm approached the coast.
In earlier interviews Tuesday, Christie stood by his criticism of Langford, maintaining that the Atlantic City mayor had sent mixed messages to residents and failed to express the importance of evacuating the city.
Langford, a Democrat and frequent political opponent of Christie, a Republican, was quick to accuse the governor of politicizing his criticism.
"The governor is either misinformed and ill-advised or simply just deciding to prevaricate," Langford told Lauer. "Isn't it sad, that here we are in the throes of a major catastrophe and the governor has chosen a time such as this to play politics. I think it's reprehensible that he would stoop to the level to try and make a political situation out of something that is so serious as this situation is right now."
Langford went on to add that Christie's charges were "absolutely false" and encouraged the media to challenge the governor to provide a source for his suggestion. Langord also offered an explanation for why so many Atlantic City residents chose not to evacuate, leaving as many as 500 stranded.