Obama flies to New Jersey and appears with Christie to announce federal emergency storm aid for New Jersey. Christie says what a great job the president is doing in response to Hurricane Irene. Christie gets a ride on Marine One, the president’s helicopter. They talk about the difficulties of having teenage daughters (you think the debt-ceiling battle was tough?). You get the feeling the next thing they are going to do is hug.

Actually, the relationship makes sense for both. Obviously, Christie doesn’t want to insult the president when he is asking him for money. But more important — and more in character for our sly guv — Christie knows that New Jersey is, at heart, a Democratic state. And if playing cozy with Obama makes Democratic voters like him a little more — and it does — then that’s what the governor will do.

What’s in it for Obama? It makes him seem magnanimous, makes him seem like a leader. And he can use a little of that right now. Look, he’s showing the nation, I can get along with a Republican like Christie when there’s something important at stake. And it also sends a message to his Republican opponents in Congress: If you guys could just be a little more reasonable, like my man Chris here, we can make this thing work.

So that’s my take on it. Christie has spent most of his time in office moving to the right and playing to Republican conservatives nationwide. But if, in fact, he plans to run for governor again and not for president, he knows honeying up to Obama will be a plus for him in New Jersey.

Locations