‘‘People perceive Christie, accurately, as someone who feels the effects on the shore very personally — this is where he takes his kids in the summer,’’ said Princeton University politics professor Brandice Canes-Wrone.
Cuomo, meanwhile, directed camouflaged troops, stood in the driving rain just outside the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to see the whitecaps inside, held daily TV briefings, and took NBC’s Brian Williams into a flooded commuter train station. The images helped support his request for $30 billion in federal aid.
Syracuse’s McClure said Cuomo and Christie learned from the bungles of storms past and put material and staff in place days before Sandy began lashing the coast Oct. 28.
‘‘These guys took a huge risk at some level because once you start doing all this stuff early — and nothing happens — it’s expensive,’’ McClure said. ‘‘These guys are smart.’’
As for Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman has never been seen as the Great Empathizer. At times he comes off as crisp, if not cold. But in the weeks since the storm, Bloomberg has repeatedly gone to badly damaged areas to make announcements and meet people, and he described having coffee in the chilly Rockaways home of some friends who had no power.
‘‘He is not a leader, he does not inspire and he does not consult. He doesn’t feel your pain and apparently he doesn’t want to,’’ Muzzio said of Bloomberg. ‘‘But on a CEO level, at the moment, I think he did a good job. ... It seems they did all that was reasonable to do and more prior to the storm and during it.’’
Not everyone was cordial to Bloomberg. As he visited a school in a heavily damaged section of Brooklyn, more than a dozen people peppered him with complaints about fuel shortages, power outages and fears of burglaries. Bloomberg told them the city was doing its best.
‘‘The amount of logistical problems that he had were mind-boggling. But it was a combination of his cool leadership and the fact that some of the worst-case scenarios didn’t manifest themselves that presented him as an able leader through the crisis,’’ Brinkley said.
‘‘Sometimes we’re tough on politicians,’’ he said. ‘‘Here, all three showed stellar leadership.’’