Storms and politics make strange bedfellows

Who says it’s an ill wind that blows no good? Sandy not only has Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey making nice to President Obama, but now Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is showing empathy toward Christie.

Malloy, who has taken great joy in jousting with the GOP governor of the Garden State, said Wednesday that he was stunned Tuesday night by the video of the storm damage in New Jersey and New York.

As soon as it no longer is needed to clean up Connecticut, Malloy is making available Department of Transportation equipment that might be useful in New Jersey and New York. Connecticut already has sent New Jersey a UH-60 helicopter and National Guard crew.

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Christie welcomes Obama to NJ. (White House photo)


“My heart goes out to them,” Malloy said. “We’re going to be good neighbors. You know, quite frankly, sometimes the fun or the jarring that goes on between governors has been put aside.”

A prominent backer of Mitt Romney who frequently ridicules the president, Christie made a national stir with his effusive praise of Obama’s leadership in speeding federal disaster aid before and after Sandy made landfall.

“The governor and I don’t frequently agree, but on that we are,” Malloy said.

Christie praised the president and FEMA in television network interviews. More interestingly, he brushed off Fox News anchors when asked if Romney would be coming to New Jersey.

“I have no idea, nor am I the least concerned or interested,” Christie said. “I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff.”

When Malloy called Christie, the New Jersey governor was unavailable. He hopes to connect later Wednesday, but that may be difficult as Christie has an out-of-town guest.

Air Force One landed at Atlantic City at 1:02 p.m. Obama deplaned, shook the governor’s hand and patted him on the back several times, according to a White House pool report. They then climbed aboard Marine One for a one-hour helicopter tour.

Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, declined to address the politics of the visit.

“This is a time to focus on what was a devastating storm and the terrible aftermath of that storm. New Jersey was by many measures the hardest hit state, I believe that’s correct,” Carney said. “It is entirely appropriate for the president to visit New Jersey and receive updates on the efforts there to recover and to view first hand the damage inflicted by Sandy. This is not a time for politics.”