President Barack Obama joined New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday for a rain-soaked tour of the recovering Jersey Shore.
The visit was meant to draw attention to the Shore’s significant progress, pledge support for the work still to be done and highlight a rare moment of bipartisan politics in a highly partisan government.
President Obama initially came to the Jersey Shore just two days after Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the region.
What they said
“We all understand there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Obama, listing homeowners, businesses, beaches, boardwalks and landmarks that have yet to return and reopen. “But thanks to the hard work of an awful lot of people, we’ve got wonderful shops and restaurants and arcades that are opening their doors.”
“You are stronger than the storm,” he said, speaking from the Asbury Park Boardwalk. “After all you’ve dealt with, after all you’ve been through, the Jersey Shore is back and it is open for business.”
Addressing the recovery effort, Gov. Christie said, “Everybody came together — Republicans, Democrats, Independents. We call came together because New Jersey is more important and our citizens lives are more important than any kind of politics at all.”
Obama did not make any policy announcements about rebuilding during the visit.
The president and governor spent time on the Point Pleasant Boardwalk, where they played games including Touchdown Fever and Frog Bog.
“I got to say, Christie got in the tire on the first try, although I did pay for his throws,” joked Obama.
“He said he was going to help the shore and he kept his commitment,” said Olly Davenport of Long Branch, who braved hours in the rain to see the president and shake his hand. “I think that’s important. A lot of politicians don’t do those things.”
“It’s nice to see that kind of cooperation,” added Donna Ware, Davenport’s partner, of the politicians’ willingness to cross party lines. “We need more [of that].”