May 28th, 2013
09:41 AM ET
11 months ago

Christie, Obama set to meet again on the Jersey Shore

(CNN) - Call it the bromance, part two.

President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie team up Tuesday to survey recovery efforts along the Jersey shore, seven months after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Garden State and neighboring New York, causing billions in damage.

The destructive storm hit the northeast just over a week before last November's presidential election, forcing both Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney to put their campaigns on hold briefly while the heavily-populated region recovered.

The president traveled to New Jersey a few days after Sandy hit to observe federal recovery efforts, touring the damage with Christie, who at the time was a top Romney surrogate.

Standing next to the president, Christie praised Obama, saying "I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state."

Some political pundits say that the storm, which put the campaign on hold, and the federal government's response to the storm, were a couple of the many contributing factors that helped the president win re-election just a few days later. While Christie's own approval rating in New Jersey soared after Sandy, and has remained high to date as he runs for re-election this year, some commentators in his own party blasted him for his praise of Obama.

“He’s fat and a fool. Don’t listen to Governor Christie. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Christie himself dismissed the critics, saying his actions after the storm weren't in any way motivated by politics – including a potential bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. He reiterated that mindset last week, saying on NBC's "Today" he wasn't worried about how Obama's visit might affect his political future.

"If the president wants to come back here and see the progress himself, I never worry about that stuff," Christie said Friday morning." "I worry about doing my job."

"The bottom line is you can't experience the way you're experiencing it right now unless you're here and you see it for yourself," Christie added. "The fact of the matter is he's president of the United States and if he wants to see the people of New Jersey, I'm the governor and I'll be here to welcome him."

Christie political adviser Mike DuHaime said the governor was putting his constituents' needs ahead of partisan politics.

"Governor Christie has always put the best interests of the people who elected him first, well ahead of any political calculations," DuHaime said. "If some people do not agree with putting your constituents first in a time of crisis and natural disaster, then so be it. He will always put the people who elected him first."

In New Jersey, Obama and Christie will tour areas hit hard by last year's storm, which caused an estimated $38 billion in damage to the Garden State. Hundreds of thousands of homes were either damaged or destroyed, with many ocean-front businesses also sustaining significant harm from the high winds and storm surge.

Those businesses on the Jersey Shore are still working to recover at the beginning of the busy summer tourist season, which in years past has brought billions of dollars in revenue to the state.

Millions have been spent rebuilding boardwalks and restoring destroyed businesses, but thinner crowds are expected this summer as towns continue to work toward getting back to normal.

In Asbury Park, the iconic hometown of Bruce Springsteen, Obama will deliver remarks and "highlight the extensive rebuilding efforts to date," the White House said.

They added Obama will "underscore his administration's ongoing commitment to stand with the impacted communities as the important work of recovery continues."

"It's a pretty vivid illustration about the president's commitment to seeing these things through," deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said Sunday.

"The president made a promise, in the aftermath of that storm, that he would continue to focus on that recovery effort and that the federal government would continue to focus on that recovery effort long after the nation's attention, or at least the media's attention had turned elsewhere," Earnest added.

Even as Christie enjoys a healthy lead over his Democratic rival in this year's governor's race, many wonder how his public embrace of Obama - both last fall and now - will affect his presidential chances in 2016. Christie, who has said he's not interested in running for president, is nonetheless widely speculated to be a potential candidate.

Rich Galen, a GOP political analyst who advised Fred Thompson during his 2008 presidential bid, said Christie has a number of "institutional problems" aside from his relationship with Obama. He hails from the East Coast, and doesn't particularly align with the GOP's major factions.

"That being said, if it looks, two years down the road, like he can win and no one else can, all else will be forgiven," Galen said. "Obama's not running again, but Christie is so I suspect that other than the ideologues, he'll be fine."

"Republicans are still furious at Governor Christie, but not as mad as they are at President Obama," noted GOP strategist Alex Castellanos. "If Christie demonstrates that he can wrest the White House back for Republicans and reverse the leftward shift of Obama's 8 years, many Republicans will forgive his sins."

Tuesday's trip will mark the second time in just three days Obama has traveled to the site of a natural disaster – he toured tornado-inflicted damage in Moore, Oklahoma on Sunday and encouraged further Congressional support for programs that bolster emergency management systems for municipalities.

"Training, education, both for citizenry but also for first responders, is absolutely critical," Obama said. "And we've got to make sure that those resources remain in place. So I know everybody in Congress cares deeply about what's happening, and I'm confident that resources will be forthcoming when it comes to rebuilding."

Obama praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its quick response to the Moore tornado, just as he did last fall when Sandy struck the East Coast. Long the object of scorn for its missteps in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA has been commended by localities for responding quickly to disasters and reducing some of the bureaucratic hurdles of the past.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey • President Obama
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Eat your hearts out GOP. I'm no Christie fan by any means, but I respect him for being non partisan in a crisis situation. Among republicans in today's GOP, he and Huntsman are the only one's I would consider voting for.

    May 28, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Bessy

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    " Eat your hearts out GOP. I'm no Christie fan by any means, but I respect him for being non partisan in a crisis. " situation.

    I second this statement. It really kills the GOP when one of their own doesn't fully cooperate with all of their hatred.

    May 28, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. Pete

    Boy is Christie going to get it from the republicans the supposid sanctumonious ones after shaking hands with the enemy in Pres.Obama..But why won't republicans give credit where credit is due and guess what ignorents the Jersey Shore opened ahead of time because of federal aid and there's nothing Cantor,Boehner or McConnell can do about it!!Tough BS republicans maybe next time losers!!

    May 28, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. LalaFunnies

    I love the way GOP heads explode whenever Christie acts like he wants to participate in non-partisan problem-solving.

    May 28, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I like how Christie has demonstrated bi-partisan leadership, that is AFTER Sandy hit our state. And I like how the congressmen of Oklahoma have shown bi-partisan leadership, that is, AFTER the twister hid their state. If only we could show bi-partisan leadership every day. Perhaps we'd be the envy of the world.

    May 28, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. truth hurts but reaility bites

    Let's face it, with scandal after scandal swirling around Obama right now, he'll dig up as many of these photo ops as he possibly can to keep the scandals out of the press. I believe the term is damage control.

    May 28, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. are122

    Christie would probably be better off sticking with Snookie.

    May 28, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. KC Yankee

    That lean mean machine is gonna be running for president soon.

    May 28, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Bessy

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    " Eat your hearts out GOP. I'm no Christie fan by any means, but I respect him for being non partisan in a crisis. " situation.

    I second this statement. It really kills the GOP when one of their own doesn't fully cooperate with all of their hatred
    -------------------------------------------------
    3X

    May 28, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. BeenThereDoneThat

    The Psychologist Carl Young, was a proponent of the "idea" that people can tune into the "collective sub-conscious".

    The way I understand the meaning of that, is shown by the way this Governor is behaving, post hurricane Sandi.

    Putting one's self interest ahead of one's constituents, is the norm, ( for many politicians, and what we cynically expect from them), yet not here, that's why he is remarkable. We don't see this much anymore. Yet we want to so badly, we just don't talk much about that hunger for REAL people with honor and valor in their hearts to be our leaders.

    May 28, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Larry L

    Working together to solve problems impacting real people? That attitude will get Christie black-balled by the radicals of Republican Party – those in control and destroying the GOP. The President remains a class act and Christie remains the only Republican I could ever even consider voting for.

    May 28, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Klinger

    Christie, is way too intelligent to be associated with the republican party. He should switch his politics, and reap the rewards of being a non-partisan leader and problem solver. The American people would also benefit from this move. We need people with the desire to bridge gaps, not build walls.

    May 28, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. just sayin

    obama is looking to glom onto christie and use christie's popularity to rebuild his own tarnished image because of his scandals. it won't work.

    May 28, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. Florida Joe

    The thought of Rush calling anyone "fat" is truely amazing.........Guess the drugster lost his mirror.......Pot...Kettle WOW

    May 28, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. ghostriter

    “He’s fat and a fool. Don’t listen to Governor Christie. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

    I love the smell of irony in the morning. A fat fool who doesn't know what he's talking bout is calling someone else a fat fool who doesn't know what he's talking about.

    May 28, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. mark scott

    too bad the prez wasn't more like christy. He always puts his own agenda first. FACT

    May 28, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I believe the OK twister hit just one town, affecting 10,000 people in Moore, OK! Super Storm Sandy impacted three Northeastern states in NY, CT and NJ, affecting millions of people. Yet republicans are ready to sign on to funding for OK with no questions asked, after they rejected much needed funding for the tri-state region. And ordinary people in the tri-state are already donating funds and goods for OK. I wonder how many okies did the same for us?

    May 28, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Republicans rule Obama

    I would not go as far as to say Obama is a class act, after all he is screwing this country and the people in it every chance he gets. Not to mention his attempted suppression of the press, fast and furious, using the IRS as a goon squad to put down the other political party. Obama has done more in 5 years to destroy this country then all Presidents together.

    May 28, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    “He’s fat and a fool. Don’t listen to Governor Christie. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
    --------------–
    When you get "Scowls and Jowls" mad at you, then you must be doing the right thing. Rush is the same guy who pleaded and nearly prayed for "this president to fail" back in 2009. Back when the country was facing its' worse economic crisis in almost 80 years.

    May 28, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. randy

    just goes to show how spoil and pathetic some republican can be when it comes to bipartisan. Just shows how childish they can be they will do whatever to discredit a person no matter what his or her intentions are unless its about own political gains or personal wants. Michelle bachman is another samy and Amy at hells kitchen. Soo out of touch with people but people who she wants to hear only.

    May 28, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Just saying wrote:

    Obama is looking to glom onto christie and use christie's popularity to rebuild his own tarnished image because of his scandals. It won't work.

    Romney – 206 / Obama 332

    Should I say FOUR MORE YEARS?

    May 28, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. Chuk

    Why would this be such a big issue if the U.S political system isn't totally broken? The President of the United States should be able to meet the chief executive of a state he goes to without much fanfare about the meeting! The only fanfare should be the issue at hand, which is the state of the recovery and the victims! Instead, we have this sideshow about how the MEETING is the issue and the real issue takes a back seat. This is bizzare and the so-called democracy in the U.S is in rough shape. Unbelievable.

    May 28, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. mark scott

    why bring Rush into this article. That would be like putting Sean Pinhead into every GOP article

    May 28, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    Good to see Gov Christie standing up to Tea Partiers and Obama-haters by puitting the welfare of his state before partisan pollitics. Expect Tea Partiers and consevative ideological purists to punish Gov Christie.

    May 28, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. Robin Ross

    Pres. Obama, did his job, Gov. Christie did his job & Romney lost...game,set,match. It all worked out well.

    May 28, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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