New Jersey Gov. Christie Praises Obama, Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Presidential campaigning pivots to relief efforts while the East Coast recovers.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been front and center in coping with superstorm Sandy, which ripped into the New York-New Jersey area Monday night. On Tuesday, following the historic damage delivered to his beloved state, Christie took to the morning television shows, showering praise on the leadership role President Barack Obama and his Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate.

"The federal government's response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president, personally; he has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area," Christie said on NBC's "TODAY Show."

[JOIN US: Live Blog: Hurricane Sandy: The Day After]

"Last night, I was on the phone with FEMA at 2 a.m. ... to answer the questions they needed answered to get that designation and the president has been outstanding in this. The folks at FEMA, Craig Fugate and his folks have been excellent."

The praise from Christie, a popular Republican governor who has throughout the presidential campaign served as an effective attack dog for Republican nominee Mitt Romney, marks a break from the increasingly caustic political atmosphere. Christie, known as a straight-talking, no nonsense pol, was critical of Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford for what he felt were actions and words that undermined Christie's evacuation orders.

[PHOTOS: Superstorm Brings Dangerous Floods]

With just one week before Election Day, Hurricane Sandy marks the final major event in the long and winding campaign path. Analysts say Obama could benefit from the deadly weather event if Americans see him as a strong leader throughout the crisis. It's harder for GOP rival Romney to compete, as any moves he makes to show leadership on the Sandy front will likely be perceived as political maneuvering.

Both Obama and Romney were forced to shuffle their campaign schedules due to the storm. Obama remains in Washington, D.C., for now, while Romney is planning on appearing near Dayton, Ohio, for an event focused on storm relief efforts. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will stop by a pair of campaign offices in Wisconsin to thank volunteers for their work collecting storm relief items.

[READ: Hurricane Sandy Disrupts Campaigning]

But not all campaigning has halted: Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled for two events in Colorado on Tuesday, one in Commerce City and the other in Denver.

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at