New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended his praise for President Barack Obama’s support after Hurricane Sandy, but said he would stick with his Republican ticket and vote for Mitt Romney in this Tuesday’s election.
“The fact of the matter is what New Jerseyans expect from their governor is to work for them, not to work for any particular political party,” Chris Christie told Israel’s Channel 2 television in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“I’m a Republican and I have endorsed Mitt Romney, I support him and I intend to vote for him on Tuesday,” said Chris Christie, interviewed in his home state by a visiting Israeli television reporter.
Chris Christie, a popular governor widely seen as a possible Republican contender in 2016, had frustrated some in the Romney campaign who feared he had given what could be a critical boost to Barack Obama, a Democrat.
He referred to Barack Obama’s pledge of federal aid during a visit to help New Jersey recover from the storm that knocked out power to some 2.4 million of its residents and said: “If the president of United States comes here and he’s willing to help my people and he does it then I’m gonna say nice things about him because he’s earned it.”
Barack Obama “provided help to my people at one of the worst crises that this state has ever faced”, Chris Christie added.
“When somebody does a good job, they deserve credit.”
“Anybody who is upset in the Republican Party about this, they haven’t been to New Jersey. Come see the destruction, come see the loss.”
Chris Christie’s reaffirmation of support for Mitt Romney comes after the typically-brash governor spent a significant amount of time this week praising the President for his handling of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath.
Barack Obama visited New Jersey on Wednesday, taking a helicopter tour of the damaged areas with Christie before walking around the town of Brigantine and talking to survivors.
“I want to thank the president for coming here today [Wednesday, October 31st]. It’s really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that’s going on here in New Jersey and I appreciate it very much.”
Barack Obama returned the kind words, telling the crowds of beleaguered New Jersey residents who had gathered that their Republican governor was “working overtime to make sure that as soon as possible everybody can get back to normal”.
Governor Chris Christie changed his partisan tune after the storm, regularly singing President Barack Obama’s praises in relation to the federal aid given toward disaster relief support.
“The president has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency],” Chris Christie told the Today Show on Tuesday.
He later told news anchor Soledad O’Brien that President Barack Obama “has been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state, and not once did he bring up the election”.