New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he doesn't regret calling a former Navy SEAL an "idiot" during a heated exchange at a recent public event.

Christie's comment capped off two minutes of increasingly heated back-and-forth with 34-year-old William Brown at a town hall-style event in Burlington County on Thursday.

Listen to Christie's comment

Brown, a former Democratic candidate for state Assembly, challenged Christie's plan to merge Rutgers and Rowan Universities. He is a law student at Rutgers-Camden who opposes the merger.

On Monday, Christie defended his action, saying: "He acted like an idiot. He's an idiot. I don't have any regret about it at all." Christie says he honors the Mount Laurel man's military service, but that "doesn't give him the right to be a jerk."

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)