Obama, Christie the Odd Couple of Politics

President, New Jersey governor are all smiles as they tour the Jersey shore.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and President Barack Obama walk over to a gallery to meet visitors at McGuire Air Force Base,, N.J. Tuesday, May 28, 2013. (Rich Schultz/AP Photo)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and President Barack Obama walk over to a gallery to meet visitors at McGuire Air Force Base,, N.J. Tuesday, May 28, 2013. (Rich Schultz/AP Photo)

President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remain a political odd couple, but they are showing that even in this era of polarization, Democrats and Republicans can occasionally put aside their differences for the greater good.

Obama, a Democrat, and Christie, a Republican who is considering a presidential run in 2016, conducted a bipartisan tour Tuesday of Jersey shore areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy last year.

Christie said the safety and health of New Jersey residents "are more important than any kind of politics at all."

[PHOTOS: Obama Visits Residents Affected by Superstorm Damage]

Obama told a crowd in Asbury Park that "The Jersey shore is back and it is open for business." But he added: "We all understand there's still a lot of work to be done," and he promised to continue working with Christie to help the area rebuild.

 

The pair strolled on the boardwalk, shook hands with spectators, and admired a sand sculpture. They participated in an arcade game called "Touchdown Fever," which involved throwing a football through a suspended tire. Obama missed on five attempts. Christie succeeded on his first try, prompting Obama to quip, "That's because he's running for office." Christie is seeking re-election this year.

[READ: Obama Tries to Move Beyond Scandals]

After Hurricane Sandy struck during the final weeks of the 2012 presidential race, Christie angered some Republicans when he praised Obama's commitment to providing assistance and said the federal government was doing a good job of facilitating relief and recovery efforts.

That positive tone permeated their joint tour Tuesday.

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.