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The boys of October are back, just in time for summer.
"Jersey, you still got a lot of road ahead, but when you look out on this beach here, it looks good!" President Obama told the Jersey Shore this afternoon.
Invoking the phrase officials have adopted as part of the Jersey Shore tourism campaign, Obama said: "You are stronger than the storm."
"After all you've dealt with and after all you've been through, the Jersey Shore is back and it's open for business."
Obama and Gov. Christie, the bipartisan duo that worked closely in the aftermath of Sandy -- and in the process triggered controversy of seismic levels in the lead-up to Election Day -- are hanging out today on the Jersey Shore. Beyond the political implications, the event is intended to let America know that the state's main tourist destination is largely up and running, ready to welcome tourists.
Obama touched down this morning aboard Air Force One at McGuire Air Force Base. He was warmly greeted by Christie before the pair made their way to Point Pleasant Beach to meet with victims of Sandy and play boardwalk games. Along the route, according to pool reports, throngs came out to cheer but someone gave the motorcade the middle finger.
They then spoke to several thousand people standing under a light rain next to the iconic Asbury Park Convention Hall.
"Good afternoon New Jersey!" Christie yelled to the cheering crowd.
"For all the folks who are here, the local officials, the county officials and the everyday citizens of New Jersey, the credit goes to all of you. Thank you for the opportunity to lead you. And welcome back to the Jersey Shore for the summer of 2013."
Christie's comments were brief, but he referenced the political firestorm that he will face from some conservatives. Already furious that he praised Obama days before the presidential election, conservatives will likely be doubly incensed that he toured the Shore with him today. So Christie said: "Our citizens' lives are more important than any kind of politics at all."
He then said it was his "privilege" -- he emphasized this word -- to introduce Obama.
"It is good to be back in Jersey," Obama said. To screams of "I love you," he said: "I love you back."
Wearing a windbreaker under the rain, Obama said that Christie had just beat him in a football throw boardwalk game -- a fact that is already stirring some buzz -- "although I did pay for his throws," the president added. He also said Christie's kids showed him how to play a game called Frog Bog.
"I could see being a little younger and having some fun on the Jersey Shore," Obama said. "I can't do that anymore -- maybe after I leave office."
At one point, he quoted a statement that Christie -- "Chris," he called him -- made after Sandy, saying we "can't let sorrow replace resilience."
"if anybody wondered whether the Shore could ever be alright again, you got your answer this weekend," Obama said, referencing Memorial Day. "Kids were eating ice cream, going on rides, eating more ice cream, guys were trying to win those stuffed animals to impress a special girl."