Some conservatives are not too pleased to see their one-time golden boy New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie palling around with and praising President Obama less than a week until the election that they hope will throw the president out of the White House.
Republican Gov. Christie, a surrogate for the Mitt Romney GOP presidential campaign and past critic of the president, toured the Hurricane Sandy inflicted damage to his state with Obama Wednesday. He continued to praise the president for his accessibility during this time of crisis and his willingness to cut red tape in order to rapidly distribute aid dollars and supplies to hard-hit states, such as New Jersey.
“I cannot thank the president enough,” Gov. Christie said at Wednesday’s press conference following the pair’s tour of the wreckage.
The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis asked “what’s Chris Christie up to” with his “over-the-top-embrace of Obama?” Lewis acknowledged that the governor must be gracious toward the president as he seeks federal support for New Jersey’s recovery but concludes there must be a Romney/Christie schism afoot to cause such a display of bipartisan friendship days before the election.
Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin tweeted her frustration at the new pairing.
Maybe Gov. Christie should un-latch himself from Obama’s side and pay attention to NJ residents ===> is.gd/JfqjPM
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 31, 2012
Pains me to say it but this is awfully smart retail politics by The One. He got an unexpected political opportunity (and challenge) from the storm to show leadership and compassion in the aftermath.What better way to do both than by coopting one of Romney’s most visible surrogates, the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, into a “message: I care” photo op in New Jersey? It’s a way to show centrists that he’s bipartisan when he needs to be. The alpha-male optics of having Christie forced to stand behind him while he’s at the podium would alone be worth it.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh also suggested that the president forced the governor to let him come to the state in exchange for federal dollars.
And The Weekly Standard, which has been less than effusive in its praise of the Romney as the Republican nominee, noted how lucky Obama is to have the chance to work with Gov. Christie, writing: “Obama is fortunate to be dealing with capable Republican governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia, both of whom praised him for helping out.”
For his part, Erick Erickson at Red State is not worried about the Christie-Obama duo, because Romney’s fans know better.
There is worry among a lot of Republicans who spend too much time on Twitter that somehow Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie have shifted momentum in the race back to Barack Obama. I don’t think so. I think Romney has a ton of independent voters.
Other Republicans leaped to Christie’s defense.
“Chris Christie knows his job,” former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, told The Associated Press. “He’s not any less for Romney, but he’s doing his job for the people of New Jersey.”
The Romney campaign, too, sought to put the conservative unease to rest, saying Gov. Christie is “doing exactly what he’s supposed to be doing as governor of New Jersey. The president is doing what he needs to do as president.”
Yet, the right-wing’s growing rabid hatred of bipartisanship is well-documented. It seems to have hit a new low given that what the president and governor are working on are helping Americans pick up their lives and restore their homes and neighborhoods after a terrible natural disaster.
Let’s not forget Sen. Mitch McConnell’s famed remark that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” And before he was famous for his rape babies remark, Richard Mourdock, state treasurer of Indiana defeated a 30-year-plus, moderate veteran senator, Dick Lugar, in the GOP primary promising not to work with Democrats.