By Jonathan Capehart

In New Jersey's coastal towns and cities, water and sand are everywhere, and lives and homes have been uprooted. Gov. Christie has a mess on his hands, and the provocative Mitt Romney surrogate and Republican convention keynote speaker is singing the praises of President Obama.

Christie extolled Obama's leadership and accessibility on Tuesday. "The president has been all over this, and he deserves great credit," he told MSNBC's Morning Joe. Christie even smacked down the folks at Fox News who tried to inject politics into the equation. When asked if he would be giving Romney a disaster tour, Christie replied, "I have a job to do in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. I could care less about any of that stuff. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me."

Presidential politics are at play whether Christie likes it or not. Ever since Sandy roared ashore, the presidential race has been frozen. The storm seems to have robbed Romney of his momentum - and of his most bombastic critic of the president in the final week of an incredibly close race.

On the flip side, Sandy has given Obama an opportunity to do his day job. Working with Christie and the other governors affected by the megastorm, the president finally gets to stretch those bipartisan muscles that congressional Republicans have refused to let him exercise.

Christie's effusive praise of Obama - after nailing him as someone groping for the light switch of leadership in a darkened room - could prove invaluable. In fact, his purrs for the president might serve as a seal of approval for a few wavering swing-staters out there.

As for Christie, there's nothing but upside for him. The first-term Republican governor of a blue state, he will get points for working with the president. This will come in handy when Christie runs for reelection next year against a Democrat who might be Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark and an Obama surrogate. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.