(BRIGANTINE, N.J.) — President Obama surveyed the devastation wreaked by the superstorm Sandy Wednesday with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in what both men said was a non-political event. But it was a powerful image of bipartisan cooperation just six days before the election.
Following a helicopter tour of the state’s battered shoreline, Obama expressed his sympathies and promised the full weight of his office and the federal government in providing aid.
“We are here for you, and we will not forget,” Obama said. “We will follow up to make sure you get all the help you need until you rebuild.”
“I don’t want anybody to feel that somehow this is all going to get cleaned up overnight,” Obama said. “But what I can promise you is that the federal government will be working as closely as possible with the state and local officials, and we will not quit until this is done.”
Obama was accompanied on the tour by Christie, a vocal supporter of Obama’s challenger, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. However, Christie has praised the president for his oversight of federal emergency efforts.
Christie again thanked the president Wednesday, saying the two men had a “great working relationship” and that the president “sprung into action immediately.”
Although it was not a political statement, Christie’s comments were an unlikely endorsement of the president’s leadership at a crucial juncture in the presidential race.
Together, the two men cut a surprising image of bipartisanship and cooperation ahead of next week’s vote, as polls show the race in a dead heat nationally.
New polls in three key swing states show Obama holding his lead in Ohio and wiping away Romney’s advantages in Virginia and Florida.
Obama leads 49 percent to 47 percent in Virginia and had a 48 percent to 47 percent edge in Florida, according to the Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll.
Obama’s leads in those two states were within the margin of error, meaning the candidates were essentially tied. But Romney was leading in those states just a few days ago in other polls.
In Ohio, Obama is maintaining a five-point lead, with a 50-45 margin, according to Quinnipiac.
In a new video Wednesday, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said he thinks Obama is in the dominant position heading into Election Day because, “We are ahead or tied in every single battleground state.”
The Romney campaign disputed the results of the Quinnipiac survey, claiming it overestimated the size of the Democratic turnout.
Ohio, Virginia and Florida are among the most vital of the battleground states for both campaigns.
The Quinnipiac survey was the first major poll of the swing states released since superstorm Sandy made landfall in Atlantic City, N.J., Monday evening, wreaking billions of dollars in damage and delivering an October surprise that no pundit predicted. The polling, however, was done before Sandy arrived and may have altered voter attitudes towards the candidates.
Romney Wednesday went back to a day of full campaigning after a brief respite out of respect to the storm victims, and his campaign hoped that the momentum generated in the days before Sandy would hold through Election Day.
He was to attend two “victory rallies” in Florida today with a number of high-profile conservatives, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Marco Rubio.
Obama was to return to campaigning Thursday with events in Green Bay, Wis., Las Vegas and Boulder, Colo.
Meanwhile, Romney and conservative super PACs were spending big in the Democratic-leaning states of Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Republicans said Romney’s slim lead in nationwide polls gave them the opportunity to go after Obama in blue-leaning states, which the president did not yet have fully locked up. The Democrats, however, said Republicans were spending money in blue-leaning states because the swing states were already saturated with political ads, and buying new ads would be prohibitively expensive for outside groups.
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