New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of the staunchest critics of President Barack Obama, put politics aside and praised the president for his response to Hurricane Sandy.
The Garden State was one of the hardest hit states from Sandy. The catastrophic storm killed four people in the state as of Tuesday afternoon, left Atlantic City underwater, caused mass evacuations of four New Jersey towns and left millions of residents without power.
"The state of New Jersey took it in the neck worse than any other state," Christie told CBS News. "It's going to take us a while to dig out from under it, but we will dig out from under it.”
Christie, who was the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa and considered a presidential run, stepped out of his role as an attack dog for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to applaud Obama’s administration.
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"The cooperation has been great with FEMA here on the ground and the cooperation from the president of the United States has been outstanding. He deserves great credit," Christie told CBS News.
The New Jersey governor reiterated praise for Obama during an appearance on CNN. Christie said he does not believe Obama was thinking about politics and the upcoming election during their conversations.
The president “has been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the election," Christie said. "If he's not bringing it up, you can be sure that people in New Jersey are not worried about that, primarily if one of the guys running isn't.”
Christie said he spoke with Obama three times during the storm, including a midnight call from the president asking the governor about the condition on the ground in New Jersey.
It’s unclear what the amount of federal funds the Garden State will receive to help with reconstruction in Sandy’s aftermath.
Christie told the National Journal that Obama’s major disaster declaration for New Jersey will be helpful in getting those funds.
“I think we'll get significant federal assistance on this, and the major disaster declaration last night by the president is incredibly helpful in that regard,” the governor said. “We'll work with our federal partners on this.”
Romney is considering touring New Jersey as part of his presidential campaign. Christie told “Fox & Friends” that the 2012 election is not at the forefront of his concerns.
“I have a job in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics,” he said. “I couldn’t care less about that.”
Meanwhile, Obama has plans to visit the Garden State, although the appearance is supposed to be tied to his presidential duties, not his campaign.