(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.