STONE HARBOR, N.J. — The fact that their school recently became the first one to reopen after having been shuttered by Superstorm Sandy didn’t faze a group of kindergartners at the Jersey shore.
Nor did the fact that a man who might someday run for president was standing in front of the floor rug where they have story time.
While it was nice that Republican Gov. Chris Christie was there to celebrate the school’s recent reopening with them Wednesday, they were far more impressed with how he got there — in a helicopter.
Christie’s sweet ride to Stone Harbor Elementary School wowed the students, who also asked about President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. “Did you come here in a limousine?” one child asked.
“I came here in something even better — a helicopter!” he said, drawing several “Whoa!”s from the class. “I parked it on one of your big fields.”
The students also asked Christie about his friends in the White House. While the governor’s warm embrace of President Obama during post-storm damage tours drew the ire of Republicans who said it hurt GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s chances in the election, this audience thought it was cool.
“Was the president’s wife enchanting?” one little girl asked.
Yes, Christie acknowledged to laughter, she is. “I had dinner with them three weeks ago. She is very nice,” Christie said. “We sat next to each other at dinner. She went to the same college my son goes to. We talked a lot about Princeton.”
Another girl asked Christie “if you collect the taxes.”
Christie said, “Unfortunately, yes, it’s part of our job.”
Other questions from the kindergartners: What is the hardest part of being governor? (“Having to say no to people.”) Do you live in a big house? (“Kind of big.”) Do you do math?
“I try not to,” Christie said. “With the budget I have to do math. I do most of my math in my head, and it drives the woman at OMB crazy,” he said, referring to the Office of Management and Budget.