"If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics," says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, "then you don't know me."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), one of Mitt Romney's most vocal surrogates, has been loudly commending President Obama for his handling of Hurricane Sandy, calling the Democrat's storm response "outstanding." Christie, who slammed Obama in a major speech at Romney's nominating convention, said he spoke with the president three times on Monday, the day the storm hit, and thanked the president for promptly declaring the state a federal disaster area so it could get federal help without the "normal FEMA mumbo jumbo." On Wednesday, Christie and Obama will inspect storm damage together in devastated New Jersey coastal areas. When Christie was asked Tuesday on Fox News whether Romney might make a similar appearance, a frustrated Christie veered from the GOP script:
I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I've got a job to do here in New Jersey that's much bigger than presidential politics and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I've got 2.4 million people out of power. I've got devastation on the shore. I've got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don't know me.
Is Christie abandoning Romney just days before the election, or is he merely putting the needs of his constituents ahead of politics?
Christie's effusiveness is hurting Romney: Team Romney must feel like Christie is throwing their candidate under the bus, says John Cassidy at The New Yorker. It's understandable that Christie would be more concerned about his constituents than presidential politics in a moment like this, but he has "heaped praise on Obama's handling of the storm" for three straight days. Romney's flaks must be "apoplectic," and wondering, "Isn't this guy ever going to shut up?"
"Romney has a Christie problem and a FEMA problem"
The governor is just calling it as he sees it: My fellow Obama critics who are seething at Christie should "put a sock in it," says Ed Rogers at The Washington Post. New Jersey's blunt governor "is the real thing, which is why we love him. His willingness and ability to tell the truth is his trademark. If Obama has been helpful during Christie and New Jersey's time of need, good for Obama." If things go wrong, Christie should say so, but don't fault him for not lying.
"Let Christie be Christie"
But you have to wonder about Christie's motives: In fairness, Christie would "look petty if he denied The One a visit at a moment when he's on official business," says Allahpundit at Hot Air. And maybe he "really truly doesn't give a damn about presidential politics right now." Still, Christie is a Republican governor in a blue state Obama will win easily. You have to wonder whether Christie is "working a political angle here." Perhaps "he's prioritizing his own  re-election bid as governor over Romney's campaign."
"Obama to tour New Jersey hurricane damage — with Chris Christie"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The slippery slope of Twitter's attempts to stop harassment against women
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
Subscribe to the Week