President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie toured boardwalk shops and arcades that have been rebuilt in the seven months after Superstorm Sandy tore through the state's coastline Tuesday, May 28, 2013.
Just a couple of guys on a boardwalk in Jersey.
President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie renewed their odd couple political partnership Tuesday, touring boardwalk shops and arcades that have been rebuilt in the seven months after Superstorm Sandy tore through the state's coastline.
While "the Jersey Shore is back and it is open for business," Obama also told residents in Asbury Park that "we all understand there's still a lot of work to be done."
Christie told constituents he's "thrilled" with the progress that's been made since Sandy, but added that he reminded Obama that many homes and businesses have not been rebuilt.
For his part, Obama said that "we're going to keep on going until we finish," and he doesn't want people thinking "that somehow we've checked a box and we've moved on."
Earlier, the Democratic president and Republican governor -- and possible presidential candidate in 2016 -- walked the restored boardwalk at Point Pleasant on a rainy afternoon, shaking hands with residents, checking out an in-progress sand sculpture, and playing some carnival arcade games.
"Touchdown Fever" involved tossing a football through a suspended tire -- Obama went 0-for-5, while Christie tossed it through on his first try, prompting a joke from the president about the governor's re-election bid in November.
"That's because he's running for office," said Obama, though the arcade owner still gave the president a stuffed animal -- a "Chicago bear" -- as a consolation prize. In his remarks, Obama noted that he did pay for Christie's throws.
There were no Obama-Christie hugs witnessed this time around. When the president landed at a New Jersey military base, he and Christie shook hands, along with a presidential pat on the governor's back.
Seven months ago, right after Sandy blew through the area, an Obama-Christie hug -- together with Christie's praise of the Obama administration's storm response -- earned the governor criticism from fellow Republicans who said it undercut GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Tuesday's tour is unlikely to mollify Christie's conservative critics, some of whom started a Twitter hashtag called "boardwalk bromance."
In his remarks on Tuesday, Christie said the health and safety of New Jersey residents "are more important than any kind of politics at all."
Obama told the crowd: "Jersey, you've still got a long road ahead, but when you look out on this beach -- this beautiful beach here, even in the rain, it looks good."