Martin McGuinness' old IRA bullyboy tactics emerged as he labelled Gay Byrne a coward.
The presidential candidate claimed the broadcaster was "not man enough" to face him when accusing him of lying.
The Sinn Fein politician was responding to Gay Byrne's public remarks that he regarded Mr McGuinness and Gerry Adams as trained liars.
Mr McGuinness blasted: "I met Gay Byrne when I was walking with my wife on a beach in Donegal a few years ago and he was walking on his own. He was as nice as pie...but if he was a man... he would have said it to my face."
The Northern Deputy First Minister, who has been criticised for his use of the phrase 'West Brit', was asked last night to define the term.
He said: "Maybe Gay Byrne's a West Brit. I'm not going to focus on that.
"I think I've a good track record as a leader and people will see me as a man with an affinity with the ordinary people and I stand by that," he said.
He said he would be reluctant to agree to be interviewed by Gay Byrne, but added: "I was never one to walk away from a debate." Mr Byrne (77) was not available for comment today but previously said: "I've always been a hater of Sinn Fein and a hater of the Provisional IRA and everything they stood for -- and they don't like me either."
The former Late Late host said he interviewed Mr McGuinness and Mr Adams several times but never got anywhere because "they are so well-disciplined and so well-honed that no interviewer gets anywhere with them".
"You get nowhere with them because they lie. They lie all the time," he added.
"They lie consistently and they don't mind lying and they've rehearsed their lies and they've been trained to lie and that's what they're doing.
"Do the Irish people want this guy to be head of the armed forces and all those connotations, and under the Constitution there are many, many different things about which Sinn Fein and he will wriggle and use weasel words as usual because they're very, very good at doing that," he added.
Mr Byrne said that when he looks at Mr McGuinness, he does not think statesman and politician, but rather former IRA man and former gunman.
"But then so was Dev (Eamon de Valera) and that didn't stop him. Our history is riddled with this kind of thing and we have to face it one way or the other," he said.