Chris Christie ventured into what some would consider enemy territory for a Republican as he crosses the aisle to bond with former President Bill Clinton over the finer details of disaster relief in a joint appearance.
The New Jersey Governor’s message was one that has become a trademark for the blunt-speaking governor, at least for now: Politics, for him, take a back seat to results.
Christie was received warmly by the former president at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting. His presence, following a Thursday speech by Hillary Clinton, provided attendees a glimpse at two national figures likely to dominate the political stage for the near future. The former secretary of state was not in the room for Christie’s appearance, however.
Stepping on stage for a conversation to discuss lessons Christie learned in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which battered New Jersey last fall, the governor was praised by Clinton for his handling of the recovery efforts.
At the Clinton Global Initiative, New Jersey’s Chris Christie offers advice to other coastal governors on how to be prepared to take on natural disasters.
Clinton pointedly noted that the iconic image most have of Christie is of the governor touring storm damage, days before last year’s election, in his signature flannel jacket with President Barack Obama at his side. It was a nod to the reaction Christie has faced within his own party.
“He has done a good job,” Clinton told the crowd during the closing session of the annual meeting. “You got both praise and damnation for ignoring the political differences that you had then and still have with the president and all of us who are in the other party to do something that is really important.”
For his part, Christie was clear about his position that, when natural disasters hit, there can be no “partisan lines.”
“The one thing I will tell you is that there are no partisan lines on this one when it happens. You are reaching out to everybody you can. I was reaching out to every governor I could, Republican or Democrat, to say ‘can you urge your utility companies to send us crews, can you send some National Guard troops up to help supplement ours,'” Christie said at the “America Meeting.”