By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
After Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc throughout New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie was on five network morning talk shows this morning. then around 10 a.m. gave a chilling assessment of what the state endured last night.
“I know many people in our state woke up today to absolute devastation. There are no words to describe what so may New Jerseyans experienced over the last 24 hours and what they will have to contend with over the coming days, weeks and months,” Christie said. “I’ll first say to all of you, especially to those out there facing loss, devastation and the heartbreaking reality that your home may be gone, we are with you. You have a long road ahead of you but I have complete confidence we’re going to come out of this better and stronger than before. This state is too tough to give in to this type of devastation. And we in the government will be here to work with you, to have New Jersey completely recover.”
He spoke of power outages, major flooding, uprooted homes, search and rescue operations, 178 highway closures and a troubled rail system.
“Later today, New Jersey Transit will begin assessing the status of the system and test critical infrastructure before any decisions are made regarding the potential resumption of service,” Christie said. “We do know this — there is major damage on each and every one of New Jersey’s rail lines. Large sections of track were washed out on the New Jersey Coastline. Numerous power lines and trees have fallen on New Jersey power lines and trees have fallen along NJ Transit railways across the state.”
A downed tree right outside the state police complex where the governor spoke symbolized all he was speaking of. At the end of the half hour briefing someone asked what effect a week-long cleanup might have on next week’s election. The governor said the effects of Hurricane Sandy are much more important at the moment.
“I will tell you this administration at the moment could give a damn less about election day. If you hear the things that I just talked about and the devastation that’s been visited upon this state, I am sure that while the national election is obviously very important that the people of New Jersey at this moment would really be unhappy with me if they thought for a second I would occupy my time thinking about how I was going to get people to vote a week from today. So I don’t give a damn about election day. It doesn’t matter a lick to me.”
Around 12:30 p.m., the governor and his traveling party took off in four state police helicopters to tour the battered shoreline.