TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney concedes he may have gone a little over the top in characterizing Governor Chris Christie as a “bastard” in a published interview after Christie line-item vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars from the new state budget.

But Sweeney (pictured) will not apologize for his outburst.

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“My language was probably over the top, but I’m not going to apologize for the fact that I’m fighting for people I believe need to have a voice,” Sweeney said.

It wasn’t just that Christie cut; it’s what he cut (mostly programs to the poor and needy) that got Sweeney angry. Particularly when, in Sweeney’s view, the cuts went to double the budgeted surplus, not reduce taxes.

“It was very upsetting to me to watch these programs be cut and the governor showed such callousness to people over what government is supposed to be for,” says Sweeney.

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A spokesman for Christie, who’s on vacation, labeled Sweeney’s original remarks “inappropriate and disrespectful to the office.”

Sweeney vowed not to allow his personal feelings to get in the way of future collaboration with the governor, although the legislature will attempt to override Christie’s vetoes, a move that’s expected to fail.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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