WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Gov. Chris Christie, the odd couple of politics, are finding common cause again. Obama was to tour New Jersey's beach communities with Christie on Tuesday, examining the recovery from Hurricane Sandy's devastating damage last October. The trip gives Obama a chance to showcase the widely praised Federal Emergency Management Agency at a time when attention has focused on the Internal Revenue Service and its targeting of conservative groups. The president also gets to draw attention to the kind of bipartisanship that has been harder to find in the nation's capital.
The visit occurs as Congress is away for a Memorial Day break, a weeklong recess that likely will silence the daily attention lawmakers, particularly Republicans, had been paying to the IRS political upheaval as well as the ongoing debate about the fatal attacks at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year and an investigation of media leaks that has stirred opposition from the media and many lawmakers.
It also comes just days after Obama started trying to change the subject in Washington with a speech defending his controversial program of strikes by unmanned drones and renewing his push to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
On Sunday, Obama traveled to Oklahoma to view damage from the recent tornado and console victims of the deadly storm.
For Christie, the president's appearance is yet another way to showcase his beloved Jersey Shore. The Republican governor has been touting it throughout the Memorial Day weekend as a destination point that is back in business, and he broke a Guinness world record Friday by cutting a 5.5-mile-long ceremonial ribbon that symbolically tied together some of the towns hardest-hit by Sandy. The state has a $25 million marketing campaign to highlight the shore's resurgence in time for the summer season.
(Photo: In this Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon arrival at Atlantic City International Airport in Atlantic City, N.J., to visit areas damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Obama with Christie at his side, will visit the recovering coast on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in an effort to reinforce a message of effective government, bipartisanship and economic opportunity. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.)