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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Obama and Christie to Assess Damage in New Jersey

President Obama will join Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, in viewing damage of the storm on Wednesday, the White House announced Tuesday as Mr. Obama praised relief efforts at a Red Cross headquarters in Washington.

The president canceled campaign rallies that had been scheduled for Wednesday. Instead, Mr. Obama will join with Mr. Christie - who has been one of his harshest Republican critics - in talking with victims of the storm and thanking first responders, officials said.

That announcement came moments after the president described what he called the “heartbreaking” hardship from the storm that he and other Americans witnessed during the past 24 hours.

“America is with you,” the president said to the victims of the storm living states across the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. “Obviously this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation.”

Mr. Obama's visit to the Red Cross and the announcement of a tour of the damage on Wednesday comes at the beginning of the final seven days of the presidential campaign. The president is locked in a tight battle with Mitt Romney, according to national polls and surveys in battleground states.

Mr. Christie had been one of the president's most ardent critics until the storm's arrival. In the last 24 hours, he has praised Mr. Obama's leadership and the administration's actions to speed relief resources to New Jersey.

At the Red Cross, Mr. Obama said his message to officials in the federal government is ” “no bureaucracy. No red tape.” And he federal officials are “going to continue to push as hard as we can” to provide resources to places like Newark, New Jersey, where there are major power outages.

He praised the work of emergency responders, and singled out workers at a New York hospital who he noted were “carrying fragile newborns to safety” after power backup systems fai led Monday night.

He also praised firefighters who waded into deep water to save people's lives in the aftermath of the storm.