3:09 pm Oct. 30, 2012
President Obama will travel to New Jersey tomorrow afternoon to tour parts of the state damaged by Hurricane Sandy with Gov. Chris Christie, the White House announced in an email this afternoon.
A meeting between the two executives would have been unthinkable prior to the storm, with Christie emerging as one of the president's most combative and outspoken critics this election cycle, after having been mentioned as a possible nominee to challenge Obama's re-election.
But in a round of national television interviews this morning, Christie praised Obama's response to the storm, saying he had been "great," and that working with his administration had been "wonderful."
"I don't give a damn about Election Day," Christie added.
That may be true, but the imagery of the president with one of Romney's top surrogates will most certainly not be helpful to the Romney campaign, just as Christie's praise of Obama after the storm more or less precludes any Republican criticism of his initial handling of the situation.
(Christie's move may not endear him to the Romney campaign, but it could end up helping him in 2016, both by bolstering his straight-talking independent credentials and, in the context of the current election, by contributing to the likelihood that there will be an opening for a Republican like him to run in the first place.)
The president's visit comes as both he and Mitt Romney try to nagivate the tricky politics of disaster recovery, with only one week to make their closing arguments to voters.