Reporting Jay Levine
CBS (CHICAGO)– After two days off, the Presidential candidates are officially headed back to the campaign trail.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports you probably couldn’t tell that President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney stopped campaigning. That’s because they didn’t.
They just called it something else. The President even used a campaign slogan you see on placards at all of his rallies: Forward, when he talked about marching orders for federal relief workers.
In New Jersey, the president stood alongside Gov. Chris Christie, who two months ago disparagingly referred to him as just another Chicago ward politician. Christie is now praising him for doing a great job.
“It’s been a great working relationship to make sure that we’re doing the jobs that people elected us to do,” Christie said standing alongside Obama on Wednesday as they toured damage from Hurricane Sandy. “I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern, and compassion for our state, and for the people of our state.”
Obama said, “Governor Christie has been responsive; he’s been aggressive in making sure that the state got out in front of this incredible storm. And I think the people of New Jersey recognize that he has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before.”
The pictures of the Democratic president and Republican governor — so recently at odds, now clearly allies — brought a smile to the face of the President’s senior campaign advisor and a diplomatic response.
“The one great thing about this country is we can have brawling politics, but when we face a crisis we come together, and that’s what’s happened here, and I give Governor Christie credit for putting politics aside, and doing what he felt is best for his state. I think the president’s done the same,” said David Axelrod.
While the president will return to the campaign trail tomorrow, his opponent Governor Romney, was in Florida today, still raising money for relief efforts, rather than his campaign.
Romney continued to try and find a balance between showing appropriate concern, and going back on the attack, while the president plunged headlong into a mission of mercy, with a prominent Republican at his side.
Axelrod admitted the three-day detour from campaign detail to disaster duty probably helped Obama.
“Does the super storm Sandy constitute a perfect political storm for an incumbent President? I don’t know what the spinoff of the president doing his job as president in the midst of the storm will be. The one thing I will say about it is I think I it froze the race because rightly your news organization and every news organization focused, rightly on the storm. And if you believe that you’re ahead, and I think we are, those three lost days are more of a loss to the other side than to us,” Axelrod said.
Christie might have dissed the President back in August, but last summer he also sent word that he wasn’t interested in becoming Romney’s running mate in 2012, and is thought to be a possible Republican candidate for president in 2016, if Romney loses Tuesday and Obama is re-elected.