The power of incumbency

  • 31 October 2012
  • From the section US & Canada
  • comments
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie 20 October 2012
Image caption Governor Chris Christie said on Tuesday the president's response had been "outstanding"

In a little while, President Barack Obama will stand side by side with the man who has given him what could turn out to be the most important endorsement of his political career.

He will meet up in the devastated state of New Jersey with that state's governor, the blunt-speaking Republican, Chris Christie, whom many wanted to run for the White House.

Both men have already dismissed talk of the election, saying the devastation wrought by the storm is too important for petty politics - this is about people's lives.

But Mr Christie, usually a vicious critic, has lavished praise on the president that rings louder than anything a celebrity or supporter could say.

Specifically, Mr Christie has praised the president for his leadership in cutting through red tape and bureaucracy.

The Republicans usually like to portray Mr Obama as a man festooning the country in regulations.

If the president is coming across as an effective commander-in-chief in the eye of the storm, it is important to put it in context.

Most people have decided how to vote. Many have already done so. The dedicated efforts of volunteers of both parties in the individual swing states may be more important. And, President Obama is returning to the campaign trail tomorrow, so he does not think he needs to spend any more time focusing on the storm.

But when people talk vaguely about the power of the incumbency, this is what it looks like in action.