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October 31, 2012

No man hug, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie says he and Obama have a "great working relationship"

President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shook hands and patted each other on the back -- "no man hug" -- as Obama left the storm-ravaged state Wednesday. But Christie embraced Obama, nevertheless, saying they'd spoken 6 times since the weekend and that Obama had "sprung into action immediately."

Obama, Christie said, "has worked incredibly closely with me since before the storm hit...and it's been a great working relationship to make sure that we're doing the jobs that people elected us to do.

"I cannot thank the President enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state," Christie said.

The pair toured storm damage by helicopter and talked with storm refugees at a community center in Brigantine where Obama praised Christie for "working overtime" to get the state back up and running. 

"The main message I wanted to send is the entire country has been watching what's been happening," Obama said. "Everybody knows how hard Jersey's been hit." 

Christie thanked Obama for the trip, saying it was "really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that's going on here in New Jersey and I appreciate it very much.

"We're going to work together to make sure we get ourselves through this crisis and get everything back to normal," Christie said. "Thank you for coming, sir." 

New Jersey's not considered a swing state and residents on the storm-battered island said they were grateful for the presidential attention: "He's not just talking, he's here doing something," said Tucker Smith, a 70-year-old retired NYC firefighter.


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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