Haley Barbour, Mississippi's former Republican governor, said on Thursday that Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the East Coast, “saved” President Obama’s chances for reelection.
Obama worked closely with governors in the path of the impending destruction before and after the storm. This work, Barbour said, gave the president a boost in the final days of the campaign.
“Hurricane Sandy saved Barack Obama's presidency,” he said on NBC’s Today. “It broke the momentum that [Mitt] Romney had coming in at the end of October.”
One of those governors, New Jersey Republican Chris Christie, praised Obama for his reaction to the storm. Several conservatives lambasted Christie, who was a major Romney backer, but Christie dismissed that criticism on Wednesday.
“I wouldn't call what I did an embrace of Barack Obama,” Christie said at a press conference. “I know that’s become the wording of it, but the fact of the matter is, I’m a guy who tells the truth all the time. And if the President of the United States did something good, I was going to say he did something good and give him credit for it.”
He continued, “But it doesn't take away for a minute from the fact that I was the first governor to endorse Mitt Romney, that I traveled literally tens of thousands of miles for him, raised tens of millions of dollars for him and worked harder, I think, than any other surrogate in America other than Paul Ryan, and he was running mate.”
Barbour said he does not blame Christie for the halt in Romney’s momentum.
“That’s not Chris Christie’s fault,” Barbour said. “Now, I do think the news media made a much bigger deal out of it that, made it sound like Christie was almost endorsing Obama. All Christie said was the president's trying to be a good partner.”
This partnership may come to the forefront again in the coming days as the region braces for yet another destructive winter storm.