President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie surveyed the damage from Sandy by helicopter today, then traded praise afterward. “I want to let you know that your governor is working overtime,” Obama told people at a community center, reports the New York Times. Christie, who has been heaping praise upon the White House for its reaction to the storm, returned the favor: “He’s been working with me,” he said of Obama. "It’s really important to have the president of the United States here.” Both camps tried to play down the political implications, though NJ.com notes that someone wrote "ROMNEY" in the sand in big letters at Point Pleasant Beach. Politico has more:
- Obama: “We are here for you and we will not forget, we will follow up to make sure you get all the help you need until you rebuild,” he said in Brigantine.
- Christie: “There’s got to be sorrow. But we cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that I know that all New Jerseyans have.”
So what's with this newfound friendship between the two? Maureen Dowd tries to suss out the Christie "bearhug" in her column today and thinks both sides benefit. At the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg thinks it mostly boils down to this: "Christie, in my experience, is a deeply emotional and highly sentimental man, and he is torn-up about the devastation along the Jersey Shore. The support he's received from President Obama—the support he receives from anyone—at such a wrenching moment, makes him inordinately grateful."