Chris Christie: Talk With Obama "Was a Lot of Fun"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 1 2013 11:00 AM

Chris Christie Wants Everyone To Know He Still Loves President Obama

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses state legislators during his State of the State Address on Jan. 8, 2013, in Trenton
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses state legislators during his State of the State Address on Jan. 8, 2013, in Trenton

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Chris Christie was in Washington last night to deliver the keynote address at a New Jersey Chamber of Commerce dinner, where the Republican governor and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate reminded the crowd of both his bipartisan bona fides and his unlikely partnership with President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, two things that are more than a little related.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

BuzzFeed with the details:

Christie told the crowd he was invited to the White House to discuss the Sandy aid package about three days before the president was set to send his proposal for the bill to Congress. "I won't talk about how our conversation went—that's between me and the president," said Christie. "But I'll let you all know it was a lot of fun." ...
"I want to thank the president—he's been extraordinary," the governor added.
In concert with Christie's remarks on President Obama, the message of the governor's keynote was one focused on bipartisanship—on what Christie called "principled leadership, but also leadership that gets things accomplished."

While Christie has certainly gotten a lot of mileage out of how he responded to the hurricane—see: his Bruce Springsteen-like approval ratings in his home state—it's worth remembering that at the time he teamed up with the president, he was also one of Mitt Romney's chief surrogates and had been one of the fiercest critics of the Democratic president on the campaign trail. That posture changed almost overnight after the superstorm washed ashore. Since then, Christie has repeatedly taken shots at the GOP-controlled House, particularly over its handling of the Sandy relief bill—something he did again last night. Via Politico:

And while roundly praising the congressional delegation from New Jersey, he took a few jabs at Congress. He said as he was calling to lobby for aid, many members told him they thought the storm wasn’t as bad as Hurricane Katrina. "In some ways, I thought we were being penalized for our competence," Christie said.

The New Jersey Republican is up for re-election this fall. Now that Cory Booker has opted to set his sights on the Senate, Garden State Democrats are still scrambling to find someone willing and able to make things competitive. That's becoming increasingly unlikely as Christie continues his recent goodwill tour. Expect more of the same Monday when he makes his first appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman.

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