May 28th, 2013
09:41 AM ET
2 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. ja

    Obama is the The President of the United States of America, get over it, pull your heads from the sand

    May 28, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @just asking

    Gee, you're confused. The Great Depression took more than a decade to stabilized. Significant progress has been made on stabilizing and regrowing the economy, despite deliberate roadblocks by conservatives. During the President's 2011 Stae of the Union, he introduced the American Jobs Act which the CBO and several independent economists said would create 1.9 million jobs right away. However, teapublicans fillibustered the bill claiming that it won't work but they're yet to introduce a bill of their own that works.

    And by the way, if Bush ended the Iraq war, then he should have brought our troops home when he returned to Texas. And I'm glad you didn't say Clinton started the war.

    May 28, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    Oh Rick, I wish President Obama was a dictator....... Then he could tell the GOP to take a flying leap....

    And many other things I wish he could do.....

    May 28, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    "Are you questioning that they are NOT making billions in profit?"
    ------
    Nope, not questioning it whatsoever. You can't argue facts. Sooooooooooo.... let's do something with the tax code that allows corporations like GE that make billions in profit, ships jobs overseas, and pays ZERO in taxes, shall we? FIX THE TAX CODE.

    Oh... and don't bring up the tried and true "oil company subsidies"... you'll never hear me defending them.

    May 28, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Brad

    This country needs a leader like Gov Christi who speaks what needs to be said regardless of political party. Gov Christi is doing what needs to be done and said for the people that elected him and he would be great for this country because he has little use of the political bs that has strapped this country since President Reagan.

    May 28, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. ...

    “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.

    For a moment there, I thought Rush was talking about himself.

    May 28, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Shaun

    The fact is, Chris Christie is the one Republican in the news that is interested in actually governing, whereas the rest of the party is trying to prove that government cannot work ever. I probably disagree with 75 % of Christie's policy positions, but I respect that he is what he is, and that it...typical East Coaster. No BS.

    May 28, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Nope, not questioning it whatsoever. You can't argue facts. Sooooooooooo.... let's do something with the tax code that allows corporations like GE that make billions in profit, ships jobs overseas, and pays ZERO in taxes, shall we? FIX THE TAX CODE.

    Oh... and don't bring up the tried and true "oil company subsidies"... you'll never hear me defending them.
    ------–
    it is not a matter of you defending them. The people you defend are the ones who defend tax breaks. They are also the same folks who balk at tax code reform. They filibuster it in the Senate, and don't vote on it in the House. Those are the people whom you so vigorously defend, which means that you, too, defend them.

    May 28, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Me

    Wake up People!

    Actually Fair, it seems as if the Corporations know people are desperate to work and they are taking advantage of that fact. That's what I'm seeing everywhere I look. I do think that's what Lynda was trying to convey.

    I know companies that 10 years ago, starting pay was $15 per hour then, but the same job now starts off at $10.

    It's greed plain and simple.
    ___________________

    No it is called economics, supply and demand, that is how our economy works!!!! If there is a surplus in the supply of jobs, the wage WILL decrease and vise versus. Maybe if you learned a little about economics and how the economy worked, you could actually have an intelligent argument and not argue based on emotions!!

    May 28, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Name lynn

    ebony an ivory is meeting on jersey shore its about time the people wake up when its come to president obama hes black an hes proud of his color. chirs now wanting to meet with the president he look beyound his color an seen the needs of president.

    May 28, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Pete

    Christie knows if it weren't for republicans and their callus ways NJ would of been taken care of months before..But when the likes of Cantor,McConnell and Boehner want federal spending cuts to equal emergency did its anybodies quess when monies would have been released right, ole sanctumonious consrvstive ones or am I talking to just rocks here!!

    May 28, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Me

    Correction, I mean surplus in the supply of WORKERS and a shortage in the supply of jobs. The market will correct itself back to equiliibrium by lowering the pay of those jobs.

    May 28, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Hamburger Jones

    "This country needs a leader like Gov Christi who speaks what needs to be said regardless of political party."

    He'd be an awful president. You can't punch foreign leaders in the mouth or shove them out of your way. Governor is the place for him, and give him a spiked mace to pound on the table during meetings.

    May 28, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Me wrote:

    No it is called economics, supply and demand, that is how our economy works!!!! If there is a surplus in the supply of jobs, the wage WILL decrease and vise versus. Maybe if you learned a little about economics and how the economy worked, you could actually have an intelligent argument and not argue based on emotions!!

    Correction, I mean surplus in the supply of WORKERS and a shortage in the supply of jobs. The market will correct itself back to equiliibrium by lowering the pay of those job
    -----
    That's pure, simple, dogmatic, hogwash. Markets don't correcrt themselves back to equilibrium. Greed rules everything. It is the fundamental catalyst in capitalism. Salaries have been frozen, or shrinking, for the past three decades and longer. It's all about greed, making up excuses to rationalize the greed and hide it from themselves.

    May 28, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Wake up People!

    @Me.
    Maybe you should try to be civil instead of taking jabs at people you don't know. I went to school, graduated and took economics. As a matter of fact, we learned about supply and demand in elementary school.

    The point I was making is companies are now paying a much lower wage because they know people are desperate for work after the economy collapsed.

    May 28, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "The point I was making is companies are now paying a much lower wage because they know people are desperate for work after the economy collapsed."

    Cyclical recessions are pretty convenient for ruining the middle-class and reminding them they should be happy to get the table scraps from their plutocrat betters, eh?

    May 28, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "The point I was making is companies are now paying a much lower wage because they know people are desperate for work after the economy collapsed."
    -----------
    In many cases, the lower wages are a direct result of union busting. I know of a textbook example about a county owned hospital, located just north of NYC. In the late 1990s, Republicans took over the county's government, as part of the Gingrich revolution.

    They immediately set their sights on privatizing everything the county owned. They privatized the county owned hospital. Said it was a revenue bandit, and blamed union wages for the annual funding needed to sustain the facility. They sold it to a private group, who immediately laid of all of the unionized housekeeping and maintenance workers.

    They offered these jobs, which now had no health benefits, at half the wages paid out under county ownership. Former workers were given first opportunity to fill the positions. Since that time, the hospital has needed more country funding than it had during any point in its' history. The facility no longer employes unionized workers, but most of the top executives get handsome 7 figure salaries.

    Under county ownership, the top salaries were under $250,000 per year. Why anyone sitting on Board of Directors, which is a part time job, deserves a 7 figure salary when the facility is losing money year and year out is beyond my understanding. What they have come to learn, however, is that the real reason for the annual losses is due to the fact that so many are treated who have no health insurance coverage. Most of their services are given away.

    May 28, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Me

    You know, it really IS all about greed. And all about power as well. And while I sit on my little perch in this big old world we live in - nothing, and I mean nothing - is more disgusting to witness then watching power and greed talking points being played out by the little people who will never understand that it is THEY who are the ones being taken to the cleaners by those who, and for whatever reason, are more than willing to condemn others simply by thinking of themselves as being the "top dogs" of a society steeped in senseless greed.

    May 28, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    To all you Obama-haters: If the President didn't show support for New Jersey and the other states affected by Sandy, you'd be whining on about how he doesn't care about the American people.

    I understand your confusion, though, after GW Bush said about Osama bin Laden: "I don’t know where he is. I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you."

    May 28, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Wake up People!

    @Sniffit and Rudy.

    Exactly. It's practically legalized slavery. Companies don't even offer raises anymore. Then there are the Right to work for less states like the one I'm in. I'm sick of hearing how unions broke the companies but the executives get 7 figure bonuses......

    The rich are getting richer, filthy in fact, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is the new poor.

    May 28, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. lisa s n.j.

    It sure is nice to see some bi-partisanship. I got a chance to meet Gov. Christie on Saturday.

    May 28, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    @ ja – Obama is the The President of the United States of America, get over it, pull your heads from the sand
    ------------–
    The Teathuglican party has their heads up their own behinds. They have hated the President from day one, and they hate any show of bipartisanship. I'm glad Christie isn't bowing down to their little tricks.

    May 28, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    @ja – Obama is the The President of the United States of America, get over it, pull your heads from the sand
    -----------------–
    The Teathuglicans have hated our president from day one, and do not like any show of bipartisanship. I'm proud of Christie for not bowing down to their little tricks.

    May 28, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Ol' Yeller

    I just to read these posts by the 'economic geniuses' who have no clue about the reality of what is happening. Markets 'correcting themselves' and this idea that greedy boardmembers are going to make decisions that are 'best' for the market place and not try to get all they can, while they can. The numero uno problem in not just America, but this world, is pure and simple 'GREED'. And unless we make a reversal back to ensuring Labor has a seat at the table then we are doomed to fall back into a Noblesse system where the rich basically own the poor. Which I'm sure the rich would have no problem with that, after all they are special, because they are rich (kinda' that whole circular reasoning thing).

    May 28, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. John

    I still don't understand the fascination with the NJ Governor. I appreciate his toughness and he is a good speaker but it looks like he is getting free pass on his role actually governing the state. Here are some key stats about his progress or lack of progress in his state.

    – New Jersey ranked 47th in the nation in GDP growth in 2011. [Bureau of Economic Analysis]

    – The Garden state’s unemployment rate of 9.8 percent is fourth highest in the nation, trailing only Nevada, California, and Rhode Island. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

    – New Jersey lost 12,000 jobs last month, the most in the country. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

    – The state ranked 44th in personal income growth in 2011. [Bureau of Economic Analysis]

    Our country overall is doing far better than New Jersey. Why is nobody talking about this?

    May 28, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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