US President Barack Obama landed in New Jersey Wednesday to start a tour of areas devastated by flooding triggered by superstorm Sandy.
Obama, traveling with the federal government’s emergency relief director Craig Fugate, linked up with New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie for the tour, with his re-election bid still on hold ahead of Tuesday’s national vote.
Christie, an outspoken ally of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has been effusive in his praise of Obama’s handling of the devastating storm, raising eyebrows in his own party.
The governor greeted the president at the steps of Air Force One after his short flight from Washington and the two men boarded Obama’s Marine One helicopter for an aerial tour of the disaster area.
Obama left the campaign trail on Monday to return to Washington to manage the federal relief effort. He has announced plans to get back to campaigning on Thursday, ahead of the November 6 election.
Romney, who had also mostly suspended campaigning out of sensitivity to storm victims, was back stumping for voters, in Florida, on Wednesday, albeit on a muted level.
“Please, if you have an extra dollar or two, please, send them along and keep the people who have been in harm’s way… in your thoughts and prayers,” he told about 2,000 people in a Florida airport hangar, as American Red Cross donation messages flashed on large video screens.
“We come together in times like this, and we want to make sure they have a speedy and quick recovery from their financial and, in many cases personal, loss,” Romney added.
While Romney rapidly shifted to his message that “it’s time for America to take a different course,” the challenger held off on direct attacks against Obama as the president presided over storm duties in Washington.