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Hurricane Sandy response: Officials get good marks, so far

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Others agree with the governor. "I think the federal response was positioned well," retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré said in an interview on CNN Tuesday. He added that, as governors have called up more uniformed personnel, "I think the National Guard is doing a great job."

Lieutenant General Honoré, who helped coordinate relief efforts in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said that in the first few hours of a disaster state and local responders typically play the most vital role in keeping people safe.

Obama echoed that sentiment Tuesday, praising local officials and governors including Christie and Andrew Cuomo of New York, saying their their preparation work and efforts since the storm struck have saved lives.

Verbal jabs exchanged between Christie and Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford are the exception, not the rule, in Sandy's wake. Christie fretted publicly that some comments by Mayor Langford had prompted some residents to enter a shelter rather than evacuate. The shelter later became the scene of flood-rescue efforts Monday by the National Guard.

Langford on Tuesday called Christie's comments "dead wrong," New Jersey's Star-Ledger reported. The mayor said he was urging evacuation, and that his plans to move people inland from the shelter were thwarted by the storm's fast-moving surge.

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