Focusing on the “incalculable” devastation in his home state, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told CNN this morning “the election will take care of itself.”
“My lieutenant governor is overseeing the election process. My secretary of state, they have already been working on contingency plans for Election Day a week from today,” Christie said.
“I’m much more concerned about preventing any other loss of life, getting people to safe places. Then we’ll worry about the election.”
Christie said he spoke with President Obama three times yesterday. “He has been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the election,” the governor said. “If he’s not bringing it up, you can be sure that people in New Jersey are not worried about that primarily if one of the guys running isn’t.”
New Jersey has about 2.4 million households without power — a million more than Hurricane Irene’s damage last year. Part of the famed Atlantic City boardwalk was washed away.
Christie stressed on NBC’s Today show that Sandy was “a major disaster.”
“And we have a battered, battered New Jersey shore that I hope to tour a little bit later on today, but I think the losses are going to be almost incalculable,” he said.
“The federal government’s response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president personally. He has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area. I expedited that,” Christie said.”Last night, I was on the phone with FEMA at two a.m. this morning to — to answer the questions they needed answered to get that designation. And the president has been outstanding in this. And so the folks at FEMA, Craig Fugate and his folks have been excellent.”
Urban search and rescue teams were going house to house in flooded Atlantic City to retrieve residents who stayed after mixed messages from the mayor, who said they could ride out the storm in their homes despite Christie’s evacuation order.
“The fact of the matter is that I feel badly for the folks in Atlantic City who listened to him and sheltered in Atlantic City,” the governor said. “And — and I guess my — my anger has turned to sympathy for those folks.”
When asked on Fox News this morning whether Mitt Romney would come to New Jersey to tour storm damage with the governor, Christie replied, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested.”
“I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power. I’ve got devastation on the shore. I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state,” he said. “If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
Christie reiterated his praise of the president.
“He called me for the last time at midnight last night, asking what he could do,” he said. “…He’s been very attentive, and anything I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So I thank the president publicly for that. He’s done, as far as I’m concerned, a great job for New Jersey.”