US & Canada

Barack Obama returns to the election trail

  • 31 October 2012
  • From the section US & Canada
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President Barack Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visit the Brigantine Beach Community Center to meet with local residents, 31 October 2012
Barack Obama toured storm damage in New Jersey with Governor Chris Christie on Wednesday

President Obama came to New Jersey, saw the devastation but is now leaving in an attempt to conquer the swing states. It is an intriguing decision.

He's going back on the campaign trail on Thursday and will be keeping at it relentlessly for the next few days. The storm that has killed more than sixty people, destroyed homes and made life a misery for millions, has been a perilous political moment for the president.

Had he not left off campaigning, he would have been severely criticised for not taking charge in a crisis. Had he been seen to have failed to get a grip, if he had obviously been found wanting, that would probably have been the end of the election for him. As it was, it seems he was generally judged to have done a good job.

Not everyone wanted him.

The governor of New York asked him not to visit New York City, and the White House said they had decided already that a presidential visit would strain resources. So instead he went to New Jersey.

He stood side by side with the blunt speaking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who again stated his gratitude for the president's help with the emergency.

Gov Christie is a fascinating guy. He has an appeal across the party divide and prides himself on telling uncomfortable truths. Over the last few days, his words have been uncomfortable for Mitt Romney, as he repeats thanks that the president has cut through red tape.

His view is not exactly the party line.

All this might make you think that the president might have spent another day above the fray, but he is heading out west, where it seems his team think supporters may need a little personal encouragement to vote.