By Brenda Flanagan
The governor schmoozed boardwalk crowds in typical Christie style — joking, posing for pics, fending off fans who urged him to run for president.
Two summers after Sandy, the governor found a lot more to smile about. Under a brilliant blue sky, tourists staked umbrellas in the sand and families strolled the boards. Christie noted — after floods and fires — Seaside Heights finally looked like it’s on the road to recovery, blessed by this summer’s sunny weather.
“I think everything’s post Sandy, but certainly if you compare it to last year — I don’t know about historically over all years — but certainly compared to last year, significantly better. Businesses are all back,” said Christie.
The governor said projects to build dune and sea walls will hopefully harden shore towns the next time a hurricane roars ashore in Jersey. And rebuilding remains far from complete, especially homes.
“Housing is always going to be the slowest and the most difficult, but yeah I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing. But still we have a lot of work to do. That’s gonna be the hardest part,” the governor said.
Besides the economy, the governor had a lot to say about politics and he was very critical of President Obama.
Christie referenced President Obama’s recent comment, that he has no Syria strategy.
“It’s scary to hear the press say that, but I don’t think that we needed the president to announce that. I think we see what’s happening there — that he doesn’t have a strategy and that’s really unfortunate for a president in his sixth year to not have a strategy there. That’s unfortunate. It’s scary,” said Christie.
He also took a dim view of the Tea Party’s threat to shut down the government if the president used his executive power to change immigration policy.
“I think we’ve already seen the shutting down the government strategy doesn’t work. You don’t control the White House. That doesn’t work. And you don’t control the Senate,” Christie said.
As for rumors that Mitt Romney might run again, Christie said, “I think the world of Mitt and I think he would’ve been a great president. I don’t think there are many people who worked harder for him than I did but the decision about running for president, I don’t want anyone telling me what I should do or shouldn’t do and I certainly won’t tell Mitt what he should or shouldn’t do.”
Christie fans will carry the torch.
“I like him. I like him and I’m a tea party person but I do like him. I absolutely do, I like his policies,” said one woman.
“I think he’s actually too moderate for the Republican party today,” said another.
Christie has said he’ll announce his decision by the end of the year. But today – he felt content to celebrate the end of the summer.