It has been amazing to see Chris Christie's enthusiastic embrace of President Obama in the last 24 hours. What's going on? Of course, Christie knows his state will need plenty of federal help. But his enthusiastic endorsement of the President goes beyond the kind of polite working relationship one would expect to see at this point between a top Romney surrogate and the incumbent president Romney is trying to defeat. Christie is offering Obama political gold -- one final chance to portray himself as the bipartisan bridge-builder that he's failed to be for the last 45 months.
Is Christie somehow piqued at Romney, and playing out his resentment on a national stage? Perhaps. But someone as attuNed to the realities of politics as Christie has to know that he could potentially pay a steep political price himself if Obama somehow manages to eke out a victory on the back of this storm.
Is he just an emotional guy, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the tragedy confronting his state? Possibly; if so, that's important information to keep in mind should he ever seek the presidency.
Or perhaps -- and I consider this most likely -- he is the governor of a deep blue state coming up for re-election next year. If Obama wins, it only helps him if Obama on some level owes him something. If Obama loses, Christie's own re-election hopes are stronger if all the Dem voters he will need to win don't have bitter memories of Christie giving Obama the shaft the week before Obama lost.
All that being said, if Christie has national ambitions, he had better be very, very careful. GOP voters have long memories -- and no matter how genuine Christie's post-hurricane distress is, it will be neither forgiven nor forgotten if his enthusiastic boosterism of Obama ends up causing this year's GOP ticket grave damage.
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