TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 8 (UPI) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie acknowledged Friday he called a former White House doctor who criticized his weight, but said he would keep the call "private."
Dr. Connie Mariano, a career U.S. Navy doctor who headed the White House Medical Unit under President Bill Clinton, drew fire from Christie this week after she said he might die in office if he were elected president.
Mariano was commenting on Christie's appearance Monday on "Late Show with David Letterman," in which the governor ate a doughnut while joking about his weight but also said he is "the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life."
Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Christie called Mariano "just another hack who wants 5 minutes on TV."
Mariano told KTVK-TV, Phoenix, Thursday Christie telephoned her and berated her personally.
"It was essentially the tone of the press conference only louder," she said.
"I don't think he realized who he was talking to," she said, noting that medical professionals routinely discuss health issues surrounding presidential contenders. "I think I'm qualified to make a comment."
She said she has received "lots of hate mails, lots of threatening, mean stuff."
"I had a private conversation with Dr. Mariano and I intend to keep it private," Christie said Friday, before moving on to the next question, PolitickerNJ.com reported.
Mariano said she doubted she would support Christie if he runs for president.
"He wasn't very nice to me. Politically if this is the way [he handles] stress. ... Is this presidential? I'll have to think about that. Is this a presidential way to behave? C'mon."