President Barack Obama will travel to New Jersey tomorrow to inspect damage caused by Superstorm Sandy with Republican Governor Chris Christie.
The President will spend his time “talking with citizens who are recovering from the storm and thanking first responders who put their lives at risk to protect their communities”, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement a few minutes ago. Further details will be made available shortly.
Earlier today, Governor Christie had high praise for President Obama’s leadership during the storm. His effusive comments already have some Republicans fuming.
“The federal government response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president personally,” he told NBC’s The Today Show. “The president has been outstanding in this.”
“The folks at FEMA… have been excellent.”
He sounded similar notes on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “It’s been very good working with the president,” Christie told host Joe Scarborough. “He and his administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful.”
And on Twitter, Christie also had a message of thanks:
I want to thank the President personally for all his assistance as we recover from the storm.
— GovChristie, 7:28 AM Eastern Time, October 30th, 2012
Asked by Fox whether Mitt Romney might come to New Jersey to do the same thing Obama will be doing, Christie retorted (in classic Christie fashion), “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I have a job to do in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
In Columbus, Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden spoke briefly to the White House press pool about the storm response. Asked how Sandy would affect the election, Biden replied, “I don’t know. I honest to God don’t think people thought much about that at this point. It’s just mainly making sure people have electricity. Big cities like Newark, Manhattan, even parts of Philadelphia are without energy and could take some time to get electricity back, really serious problem.”
Asked to comment on what might happen to FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) if Romney wins, Biden took a pass.
“No, look. I think FEMA is doing incredible job. I wish you guys could have been on the phone with all of the governors. Uniformly they were incredibly grateful to [FEMA Administrator] Fugate and the president.”
“FEMA has been reorganized. It’s doing one helluva a job,” Biden added. “It prepositioned resources. The governors are all cooperating with one another. The mayors are cooperating. I’ve never in all my experience seen as much cooperation, and acknowledgement of that cooperation, from city, state, federal levels. So it’s working like it’s supposed to. And I’m really proud of our team, and I’m also proud of the way the governors have all stepped up with the mayors.”
“Hearing the mayor of Philadelphia and the governor of Pennsylvania, two different parties, talking about the cooperation. Hearing Christie talk about the cooperation he has with the mayor of Newark.”
“The key is, as cold as it is here, it’s cold as hell in some of these places where people don’t have any energy, don’t have any electricity. And it’s going to take a herculean effort. We even have the state of California trying to get cherry pickers.”
Biden also sidestepped a question about when the president might resume campaigning. (Leave it to the White House press pool to bring up politics).
“I’ve never seen a guy so focused,” Biden said. “The last conversation we had he said to the governors, look folks. I’m up late at night. If you don’t get immediate response from my folks, call me. Here’s my number.”
“So this is hands-on deal right now to get everything done.”