NYTimes Takes Sandy By Storm to Boost Obama-Christie Partnership and Climate Change

As Election Day loomed, the New York Times made the most of Chris Christie bonding with President Obama over the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Thursday's front page featured Mark Landler and Michael Barbaro on the new political storm-buddy team of New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie and President Obama, "An Unlikely Political Pair, United by a Disaster."

Reporter Kate Zernike filed a story for Thursday: "One Result of Hurricane: Bipartisanship Flows." The online headline was more eager: "In Stunning About-face, Chris Christie Heaps Praise on Obama." Zernike noted that Christie "seemed at times almost dismissive of Mr. Romney."

The power of the image could not have been lost on a politician as savvy as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey: With days to go before a cliffhanger election, a Democratic president was giving the handshake-back pat to his Republican opponent’s most aggressive campaigner as they prepared to embark on a tour of damage from a catastrophic storm.

Mr. Christie had been scheduled to campaign for Mitt Romney, but he embraced the moment. When President Obama praised the governor after they finished their tour -- “I want to let you know your governor is working overtime” -- the two were soon swapping compliments.


But one Republican close to Mr. Romney said that Mr. Christie would have been accused of playing politics if he had said no to the president’s post-storm visit, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York had.

Still he seemed at times almost dismissive of Mr. Romney. When a host of Fox and Friends asked whether Mr. Romney would come visit New Jersey, the governor replied sternly: “I have no idea,” he said. “Nor am I the least bit concerned or interested.”

The Times also took advantage of the storm to push its pet left-wing theory of climate change. Thursday, environmental reporter Justin Gillis asked "Are Humans to Blame? Science Is Out."

From the darkened living rooms of Lower Manhattan to the wave-battered shores of Lake Michigan, the question is occurring to millions of people at once: Did the enormous scale and damage from Hurricane Sandy have anything to do with climate change?

Hesitantly, climate scientists offered an answer this week that is likely to satisfy no one, themselves included. They simply do not know for sure if the storm was caused or made worse by human-induced global warming.

They do know, however, that the resulting storm surge along the Atlantic coast was almost certainly intensified by decades of sea-level rise linked to human emissions of greenhouse gases. And they emphasized that Hurricane Sandy, whatever its causes, should be seen as a foretaste of trouble to come as the seas rise faster, the risks of climate change accumulate and the political system fails to respond.

Nicholas Kristof wrote an "I told you so" Thursday column, even while people were digging out from the storm, "Will Climate Get Some Respect Now?"