New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly praised President Barack Obama for his response to Hurricane Sandy, leading some to question his loyalty to his party. The super storm ravaged much of the East Coast Monday into Tuesday, just one week before the presidential election, and abruptly halted campaigning for both Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Widespread flooding and power outages have paralyzed much of New Jersey and New York, and government officials are scrambling to aid constituents. Republican Party star Christie, known for his outspokenness, responded in true fashion to reporters asking him how the storm will affect next Tuesday’s election, saying he "doesn’t give a damn about Election Day." He praised Obama and FEMA’s "incredibly fast" response to the storm:
The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit … He gave me his number at the White House and told me to call him if I needed anything.
On Wednesday, Obama accompanied Christie on a tour of the storm damage in New Jersey. Conservatives have been extremely critical of this sudden affinity between Christie and the president so close to the election, especially since Christie has endorsed Romney and gave the keynote address at the Republican National Convention. Rush Limbaugh called Christie "fat and a fool," saying Christie "doesn't know what he's talking about." Some have even speculated that Christie wants Obama to win re-election so the New Jersey governor himself can run for president in 2016. Others, like the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis, have suggested something must have happened between Christie and Romney:
Based on his past support for Romney, it seems inconsistent that — with just six days to go before Election Day — Christie would now suddenly downplay the importance of the presidential election, and help bolster Obama’s re-election chances.
So what’s up? Is Christie angry he was passed over for vice president? Has he resigned himself to Romney’s defeat? Or is something else afoot?
At some level, my guess is there must have been a Christie/Romney schism. Anything else seems implausible.
U.S. News’s Susan Milligan says despite the inclination to shun Christie for his comments and search for a political agenda, the governor is rising above partisan politics to do his job in a time of emergency:
What's Christie's political agenda here? Disappointing as it may be to die-hards in both parties, the likely answer is that Christie doesn't have a political agenda. The coincidence of the storm happening right before Election Day isn't forcing the straight-talking Christie into politicizing the tragedy. He's just doing his job as governor. And doing his job means working with the president, no matter which party he is in, to rebuild and repair.
What do you think? Is Chris Christie a GOP traitor for praising Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy? Take the poll and comment below.
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