Sequel to Sandy: The Obama-Christie Show, Part 2
President Barack Obama lost a game of "Touchdown Fever" with Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday as they toured a rebuilt part of the New Jersey shore exactly seven months after Hurricane Sandy wrecked the coast.
Obama and Christie took turns throwing the pig skin through a tire at the boardwalk arcade. The president was 0 for 5, then Christie nailed it his first try.
"One and done!" the Republican governor, who is running for re-election in the Democratic-leaning state, said after making his shot with the football.
"That's 'cause he's running for office!" Obama said.
Obama declared that the Jersey Shore is back and open for business, saying New Jersey residents are stronger than the storm that hammered their communities, causing at least $38 billion in damage.
During a stop in in Asbury Park, Obama said the job of repairing the damage isn't done. He said he came back to New Jersey in part to show he's still committed to putting the federal government to making the Jersey Shore stronger and more resilient than it was before.
Christie said everyone came together to focus on recovery because New Jersey is more important than any politics.
The coastal recovery is a big potential boon for the state, where tourism is a nearly $40 billion industry.
The odd couple of politics, Christie and Obama found common cause in Point Pleasant Beach, where about half the boardwalk was destroyed in the storm. Christie held back as Obama, dodging rain in a blue rain jacket, worked a rope line, shaking hands with a crowd that gathered for his arrival.
The trip gave Obama a chance to showcase the widely praised Federal Emergency Management Agency at a time when attention has focused on the Internal Revenue Service and its targeting of conservative groups. The president also drew attention to the kind of bipartisanship that has been harder to find in the nation's capital.
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White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters traveling to New Jersey with Obama that the president believes Christie "has done an excellent job in the efforts he's undertaken."
For Christie, the president's appearance was yet another way to showcase his beloved Jersey Shore. The Republican governor has been touting it throughout the Memorial Day weekend as a destination point that is back in business, and he broke a Guinness world record Friday by cutting a 5.5-mile-long ceremonial ribbon that symbolically tied together some of the towns hardest-hit by Sandy. The state has a $25 million marketing campaign to highlight the shore's resurgence in time for the summer season.
Both men reprised the remarkable bipartisan tableau they offered during Sandy's immediate aftermath, when Obama flew to New Jersey just days before the November election to witness the storm's wreckage.
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