President Obama and Gov. Christie
President Obama and Gov. ChristieReuters

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his praise for President Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy, but said he would still vote for Republican nominee Mitt Romney. 

“The fact of the matter is, what New Jerseyans expect from their governor is to work for them, not to work for any particular political party,” Christie said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2.

“I'm a Republican and I have endorsed Mitt Romney, I support him and I intend to vote for him on Tuesday,” added Christie. 

Christie, a Republican, applauded Obama for his allocation of federal resources to help states deal with the storm’s disastrous aftermath. “I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state,” he said during a news conference. 

Christie echoed his praise in television interviews, saying the president had been “outstanding,” “incredibly supportive” and “deserves great credit.”

Christie later toured the havoc strewn New Jersey shoreline with the president as pundits speculated about the political implications for the impending presidential race. The unlikely alliance also caused concern among Republicans that the governor’s actions would boost Obama’s re-election efforts.

Polls taken since the storm show voters back the president’s handling of the response, with a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll finding that seven in 10 voters back Obama’s performance in the wake of Sandy, with 15 percent disapproving. Since Romney is a candidate and Obama the incumbent, that does not imply that Romney would not have done just as well had he been president.

Christie defended his praise for Obama Sunday saying it was the right response to the president’s efforts and assistance.

“If the president of United States comes here and he's willing to help my people and he does it, then I'm gonna say nice things about him, because he's earned it,” Christie said. “Anybody who is upset in the Republican Party about this — they haven't been to New Jersey. Come see the destruction, come see the loss.”