From his frequent, televised updates to residents as the storm's winds whipped the state's beaches to his criticism last week of fellow Republican John Boehner's decision to delay a U.S. House vote on federal storm aid, his handling of his native state's worst natural disaster may one day be considered the defining moment in the political career of a budding presidential contender.
The timing of the storm — days before a presidential election — ultimately helped define his role in it as well.
Christie has been viewed as a nonpartisan advocate for federal aid since the storm hit Oct. 29. He embraced President Barack Obama's visit to the Jersey Shore six days before the election, inciting catcalls from conservatives.
And last week he smacked down Boehner for delaying a vote on the $60.4 billion storm aid package. Christie said he tried to call Boehner four times Tuesday, but none of the calls was returned. Christie's office received 800 emails in the hours following the governor's Boehner news conference, mostly positive.
Christie said he was just doing his job.
"It never struck me that what I should do is calibrate my language in order to be more political. My view was the (president) was helping us and I wanted to tell people. He deserved that credit," he said. "With Boehner, I would have reacted differently if the speaker had picked up my phone calls Tuesday night and explained what he was doing. The fact that 66 days had already gone by with no assistance, all that stuff conspired to create the reaction that I gave."