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As Obama, Christie survey storm damage, politics is unavoidable (+video)

Obama and Christie, a key supporter of Mitt Romney, exchanged praise as they viewed the storm damage inflicted on New Jersey, while Romney, campaigning in Florida, voiced support for FEMA.

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President Obama and Gov. Chris Christie surveyed storm-damaged New Jersey together Wednesday, both from the air and on the ground, meeting with victims and swapping praise for each other.

The Democratic president called the Republican governor “responsive” and “aggressive” in preparing for hurricane Sandy before the storm hit.

“I think the people of New Jersey recognize that he has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before,” Mr. Obama said of Governor Christie. “So I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership.”

Christie, a high-profile supporter of Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, also offered kind words for Obama.

“It’s been a great working relationship to make sure that we're doing the jobs that people elected us to do,” said Christie. “And I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state.”

At any other time, politics would not be part of the story. Indeed, both sides called Wednesday’s activities nonpolitical. But just six days before the election, politics can’t help but be part of the equation. And it has created a particular challenge for Mr. Romney, who campaigned Wednesday in Florida and who has no governing role in addressing the storm.

Instead, Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, sought to clarify his position on the role of the federal government in disaster relief if elected president, and issued a statement affirming his support for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

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