Words and Images with a Question

Published: November 2, 2012

By Jim Lichtman
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This image along with Governor Chris Christie’s words of praise for President Obama’s actions concerning disaster-struck New Jersey have been played and replayed in video and news outlets for the last three days

“The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit,” Christie said. “I’ve been on the phone with him, like I said, yesterday, personally, three times. He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it. It’s been very good working with the president, and he and his administration have been coordinating with us great.

“I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state,’ Christie added.

The Washington Post writes, “When a resident in this hard-hit town approached Christie on Wednesday to complain that FEMA had failed to help his neighborhood in the past, the governor assured him that his buddy in the Oval Office would make it right.”

“Don’t you worry, pal,” Christie said, “I will be with the president this afternoon.”

“The sudden love-in between Christie and Obama,” the Post said, “entered its second day Wednesday, when the two surveyed the destruction from helicopters… They walked together and posed for photos with locals and school kids along the coast, with Christie taking the lead, connecting physically and emotionally and acting like the president’s ambassador to his cherished New Jerseyans.”

Speaking to a group of community members in New Jersey Obama said, “I think the people of New Jersey recognize that [Governor Christie] has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before, so I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership.”

In interview after interview, Christie characterized President Obama’s help for the storm-battered New Jersey as nothing less than “outstanding,” “incredibly supportive” and “deserves great credit.”

News sources followed up.

The Washington Post:

Gov. Chris Christie, an Obama Critic, Praises the President amid N.J. Storm Damage

The New York Times:

One Result of Hurricane: Bipartisanship Flows

Even that bastion of conservatism, The Wall Street Journal:

Gov. Christie Praises Obama’s Response

“The president has been great,” Mr. Christie said on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe.’ “The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit,” the Journal reported.

Everyone and their brother… well, maybe not everyone.

Opinion blog Mediaite:

Limbaugh Slams Chris Christie as Obama’s ‘Greek Column,’ In Thralls Of ‘Man-Love’ For President

“ ‘New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has decided to play the role of a Greek Column today for President Obama,’ Limbaugh said, accusing the governor of effectively aiding the president’s electoral chances. ‘Obama and Chris Christie will tour the Jersey shore. Who lives on the shoreline? That’s exactly right, the 1% live on the beach.’ ”

Not much of a surprise, there.

Of course, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart had a different take. The Daily Show host showed a clip from Fox News asking Christie if Mitt Romney might be coming to tour the damage with him. Christie’s contempt could not be more obvious.

“I have no idea nor am I the least bit concerned… If you think right now that I give a damn about presidential politics, you don’t know me,” Christie said.

“It’s amazing,” Stewart observed, “how once you remove political partisanship and gamesmanship, performance improves dramatically!”

So, here’s my question:

Has the media overblown the importance of this event, or is this a positive sign of bipartisanship that’s deserving of media attention as well as our own?

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