Christie pitches Obama for more storm recovery aid
WASHINGTON — New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie reunited with President Barack Obama on Thursday for the first time since the pair teamed up in response to Superstorm Sandy.
Christie made an unannounced visit to the White House, where he met with Obama to press for $83 billion in extra disaster aid for his state plus New York and Connecticut.
Obama is expected to ask Congress for about $50 billion in additional emergency aid for 11 states struck by the late October storm.
Christie made a similar pitch to a fellow Republican, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, later at the Capitol. He also met with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who chairs the appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, which oversees aid. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have made similar trips to Washington recently to press for federal money.
Christie wouldn’t talk to reporters about his meeting with the president.
The New Jersey governor could seek the presidency himself in 2016. His warm praise of Obama’s handling of the storm just days before the election in November drew fire some fellow Republicans. But the fast friendship Christie and Obama formed as they toured the devastation from Sandy in the final days before the presidential election could pay dividends for a governor eager to rebuild his state and in need of federal dollars.
Christie’s White House visit even sparked speculation he might be carrying a private message from the president to Boehner. Obama and the speaker talked by telephone Wednesday about averting the so-called fiscal cliff, a combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January.