WASHINGTON, May 28, 2013 — Today an embattled President Obama found solace in of all places, the warm welcome of the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie.
Still reeling from the so-called trio of “scandals,” Obama must have been glad to escape, even briefly, the Republican feeding frenzy for the fresh sea breezes of the Jersey Shore and a smiling Gov. Christie, ready with praise for what Obama did for his state following Hurricane Sandy.
The President’s visit comes about 200 days after he first toured the region with Christie following the hurricane’s devastation of the state, particularly to the ocean front communities, causing $38 billion in damage. For Obama and for Christie, the political odd couple’s bromance has been a win-win for both of them as they demonstrate what working together can actually do for people.
Obama says he came back to New Jersey to show his commitment to putting the federal government to work and making the Jersey Shore stronger and more resilient than it was before.
Christie in his introduction of Obama said, “Republicans, Democrats, independents — we all came together, because New Jersey is more important and our citizens are more important than any kind of politics at all.”
The New Jersey visit follows on the heels of Obama’s visit to tornado-ravaged Moore, Okla. on Sunday, where he pledged the full backing of the federal government and federal dollars to rebuild the Oklahoma town. Showcasing the amazing work that FEMA does, the President even got a big thank you from Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. Maybe not has effusive as Christie’s gratitude last October, but keep in mind that just last year, she was out there lambasting the President and his administration’s supposed wasteful spending.
Now the shoe was on the other foot, and while her own state’s Senator, Tom Colburn, was saying states should take care of their own disasters without federal help, Gov. Fallin was more than eager to get FEMA’s help and stand side by side with the President as he spoke from the rubble of Moore.
The same epiphany happened to Gov. Christie last fall, who was then quick to praise President Obama for his help, literally walking arm in arm through the debris that once was New Jersey. And many Republicans didn’t like it. Not one little bit.
Not then. And probably not now. Pictures of the two men on the restored Jersey boardwalks among throngs of cheering supporters in Point Pleasant Beach and Asbury Park show what the federal government can do working in partnership with states. Christie and Obama exemplify bipartisanship at its best. As for those to the Right of Gov. Christie, who believe his appreciation of Obama is a political betrayal, Christie has one word, “Tough.”
Coming off a difficult week with the eruptions of the IRS targeting conservative groups and the Justice Dept. targeting journalists on top of Benghazi questions, the President has had a miserable seven days. The Republicans, and in particular the far Right, thought they had President Obama on the ropes. Then along comes a tornado in Oklahoma to upstage them. And Obama heads back to New Jersey to visit his old pal Christie and to demonstrate why good government is good.
As Christie told Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show, “The fact of the matter is he’s the President of the United States. If he wants to come here and visit the people of New Jersey, I’m going to be here to welcome him.”
That and it helps Gov. Christie, who is running for re-election in Democratic leaning New Jersey, to be seen being chummy with the President. Plus Christie himself has his eye on the White House in 2016, so it makes sense to be part of the political odd couple.
Cooking Christie’s Goose?
While in New Jersey, Obama delivered remarks about “expanding economic opportunity for middle class families who were hard hit by the storm” and met with residents who have benefited from the federal recovery efforts, even as more work needs to be done.
For those who think Chris Christie’s political goose is cooked, think again. If there is any hope for the Republican Party to once again be viable, and not have to hang a sign on its door reading “Closed for Repairs” as former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) suggested on Fox News Sunday, it will be moderate Republicans like Christie and not the likes of Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.
Meanwhile the governor was busy breaking a Guinness World record on Friday by cutting a 5.5 mile ceremonial ribbon that symbolically tied together some of the towns hardest-hit by Sandy.
A big man with a big political appetite, Christie looks to capitalize upon his bromance with Obama and tie together more than the Jersey Shore. He knows that bipartisanship is the ribbon that binds it all together and his election chances.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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