May 28th, 2013
09:41 AM ET
5 years 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. navaJohn

    “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.

    Rush Limbaugh calling him fat and saying he doesn't know what he's talking about? That's precious.
    If the GOP wants to strengthen themselves they need to rid themselves of the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, Palin, etc and endorse more people like Christie and Jon Huntsman.

    May 28, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    @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."

    Tom Cole (R-OK) has also recently shown decency by graciously acknowledging President Obama's support and help after the recent tornadoes in his state. Cole also voted FOR the Hurricane Sandy aid, prophetically saying that he and his state were just one tornado away from being in the same position as the states after Sandy.

    There are a couple folks in the GOP who don't insist on being jerks all the time ... they are, however, in the minority and run the risk of having their decency used in an attack ad against them by their own party during election season.

    Pretty pathetic ...!

    May 28, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. ST

    Chris Christie must have in mind to run for the President, BUT the way we have seen how crazy his party behaves, he should forget it. He can't be nominated by his party. The way he thinks, is quite different from their thinking.

    May 28, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Lord Toronaga can take a hike also and go live with your Syrian Brotherhood rebels & Isreal. We conservatives are not interested in that baloney either.

    May 28, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Wake up People!

    First of all Fox-lite.....Why exactly do you call this Bromance part 2? Why isn't this two leaders coming together for the betterment of our country? I am personally getting sick and tired of the partisan ish. It's far beyond time that the GOP stopped acting like spoiled children that got beat at their own game and start acting like the patriots they claim to be.

    As for Christie, while I will NEVER EVER vote republikkkan, I will show him an iota of respect, which is a lot more than he or any other member of the GOP has ever done for the POTUS.

    And Rush calling someone fat and stupid is too funny, unless he were looking in a mirror.....

    May 28, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Chedar

    We are all Americans tell that to Rush who lives in the Lululand. If Christie only represents congressional republican, our economy will be humming even more

    May 28, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Hamburger Jones

    "his attempted suppression of the press, fast and furious, using the IRS as a goon squad"

    Are you an actual circus clown or do you just play one on the internet? The AP thing is going to keep a lot of lawyers happy for years, but they played it as legally as it could be played. Fast and furious started under Bush, and was one of those gonzo cop movie ideas of impersonating the arms dealers they'd just busted that was too good not to try(and then they found life's not a movie). If it had worked we'd have destroyed the Mexican drug gangs, so the chance was taken. I say fire them all too, but pretending Obama had anything to do with it is schizophrenic. And you do realize that the IRS thing was a voluntary pre-audit which had no effect or delay on the groups being audited, right? They ought to all be fired for not being able to explain why they chose one over the other, but it didn't actually mean anything. And you actually think the president sits around all day telling cops what to do, or IRS branch offices? You watch too much tv, buddy.

    May 28, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Peter

    "“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.

    Is this suppose to be actual political analysis?

    And this guy has millions hanging on his every word, like he is a prophet?


    May 28, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. just askin

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

    has it worked out well for the millions and milions that remain unemployed after nearly 5 years and a trillion dollars wasted? so you are admitting the new normal for unemployment is now aroubd 7.5%? that is not working out well for people that want to work.

    May 28, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. KC Yankee


    Much as I sympathize with your basic sentiments, you really should stay away from complex thinking that has nothing to do with your subject. His name was Jung, and his theories had zero to do with what you are talking about . . .

    May 28, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @Republicans rule Obama

    While you accuse the Obama administration of scandals, CNN won't let me revisit the real scandals of the Bush administration as they deleted my comments. Buy you can google the following at Wikipedia:

    -GWB's Warrantless NSA Surveillance program
    -GWB's White House email scandal in violation of the 1978 Presidential Record Act and the 1939 Hatch Act
    -The 2007 Justice Department dismissal of 8 U.S. Attorney's
    -The Libby case and GWB's Clemency
    -What CIA director told GWB about intelligence findings confirming that Iraq possessed NO WMDs
    -Predatory lender's Partner in crime

    And by the way, Fast and Furious was implemented by the Bush administration in 2006

    May 28, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Logic

    "He's fat and a fool...He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,". Funny, that is what I say about Rush.

    May 28, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    "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."

    some will, but a large portion of the true haters will not. If Christie had any stones, he'd tell Fatty where to put his bloviating but he won't

    May 28, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. Sniffit

    I'm sorry, but any time Castellano opens his mustachioed yap, all I hear is the sound of an EKG flatlining. The man is braindead.

    May 28, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. mike electrician

    "he's fat and a fool"...hey Rush, I think you were looking in the mirror.

    May 28, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    just askin wrote:

    has it worked out well for the millions and milions that remain unemployed after nearly 5 years and a trillion dollars wasted? so you are admitting the new normal for unemployment is now aroubd 7.5%? that is not working out well for people that want to work.
    The last time the right wing crashed the economy, back in 1929, unemployment remained high for over a decade. Your guys crashed the economy in 2008, blocked every job bill that Pres. Obama has proposed, and now you're complaining that it's not getting undone fast enough? And, that is why Romney lost.

    May 28, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "obama is looking to glom onto christie and use christie's popularity to rebuild his own tarnished image because of his scandals."

    Meanwhile, numerous polls shown that your theory that scandalgate would ruin Obama is a big puddle of failsauce. His approval hasn't taken a big hit and not enough people are (a) paying attention and (b) have bought into the GOP/Teatroll attempts to tie it all directly to Obama, as if he somehow directly ordered that behavior from low-level IRS employees, etc. Your echo chamber works great for those inside it, but not much is leaking out in to the general public's mindset. Maybe you can have a bake sale and hand out free tinfoil hats?

    May 28, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @just asking

    During the last election, Romney said if elected, he'd create 12 million jobs by end of his first term. Well, that is of course, after the economy is stabilized. And so far, the Obama administration has already created 10.3 million jobs in the private sector and saved 4 million in the public sector, all with NO support from the party of NO and all while inheriting two wars along with the economic crisis!

    May 28, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. Hamburger Jones

    "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," and then bla bla bla. His name was Jung and he didn't think people "tuned in" to a collective unconscious. You may be thinking of Timothy Leary.

    May 28, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Roger

    Maybe they can start their own support group.

    May 28, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. yuri

    Limbaugh calling Christie "fat" is like "the pot calling tha kettle black." That corpulent and callow chap makes a lot of statements that are truly shallow and hollow.

    May 28, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Dean

    Nothing is Obama's fault it is all everyone elses fault the only decision is who can we blame it on. CNN is a a waste of time.

    May 28, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. miller

    please don;t come back stay there with all your money and let all of american be happy take care of american first

    May 28, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. sly

    Wow, a successful President meeting a successful Governor. That must really really anger all conservatives, who do not believe p[eople from different parties should meet.

    After all, the conservatives are still getting used to the idea of people from different races or sexes being allowed to talk.

    Congratulations President Obama – our nation is hitting on all cylinders – the stock market soaring to 18,000, unemployment haeding to 4%, strong economic growth, all the Bush Oil Wars are over.

    Good times, America, and these 2 politicians are helping more than most.

    May 28, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    “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."

    Interesting comment coming from Limbaugh. Wonder where his support groupies are? Usually they are crawling out of the blogosphere quoting old Rush left and right. So far, we've only heard from just saying (and a couple of just saying's other personalilites).

    May 28, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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