New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Monday that he was moved to tears by recent interactions with singer Bruce Springsteen, who hugged the governor at a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy on Friday and spoke with Christie by phone on Monday while flying aboard Air Force One with President Obama.
Christie, a Republican, is an ardent fan of Springsteen, a noted liberal who was traveling with the president to Columbus, Ohio, after playing at an Obama rally in Madison, Wis. Christie said during a press briefing that Obama called during the flight to discuss New Jersey’s recovery from Sandy and then handed the phone to Springsteen.
“[Obama] told me in times of real difficulty, he thought that the only thing better than one Jersey guy were two Jersey guys, and he put Bruce Springsteen on the phone,” Christie said.
“Bruce said to me how proud he was of his state and how proud he was of the people of this state and how tough they are,” Christie added. “And he’ll be back to the Jersey Shore soon.”
Christie recalled meeting Springsteen three days earlier at the benefit concert.
“We hugged,” Christie said. “He told me it’s official: We’re friends. I told the president today, actually, that the hug was great and when we got home, there was a lot of weeping because of the hug. And the president asked why. I said, ‘Well, to be honest, I was the one doing the weeping.’ ”
Christie, typically a harsh Obama critic, has been effusive in his praise of the president’s handling of the hurricane.
Christie was the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention and remains a supporter of GOP nominee Mitt Romney, but the Huffington Post reported on Monday that the New Jersey governor turned down Romney’s request to join him at a Sunday-night rally in Pennsylvania.
Gail Gitcho, a Romney campaign spokeswoman, told the Globe that Christie’s decision not to attend was not a snub.
“He’s always invited to attend our events,” Gitcho said. “We reached out to his staff to let them know that we would be in the area campaigning, but we never expected him to come because [he] is dealing with Sandy recovery.”Matt Viser of the Globe staff contributed reporting. Callum Borchers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.