Obama Visits Red Cross As Campaign Gears Back Up

The president is overseeing storm relief efforts, but campaigning abounds.

Oct. 30, 2012— -- President Barack Obama continues to spend his time overseeing the recovery from Hurricane Sandy as the presidential campaign begins to kick back into gear.

On Tuesday he conducted a conference call with 20 mayors and governors from affected states to coordinate response efforts and paid a visit to Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. to visit with staff and deliver remarks.

The president said, that like everyone else, he was "shocked by the force of mother nature" but praised coordination between federal, state, and local officials. He also cautioned that the recovery would be difficult and "is going to take some time."

"This storm is not yet over," he said. "The most important message I have for them is that America is with you. We are standing behind you and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet."

He said his message to the federal government has been: "No bureaucracy, no red tape. Get resources where they need to go."

The White House announced immediately following Obama's visit that he would travel Wednesday to New Jersey and would accompany GOP Gov. Chris Christie to view storm damage and speak with storm victims and first responders.

Christie's praise of Obama Tuesday has been noted as a rare sign of bipartisanship with just one week left in the increasingly close presidential race.

"We have a great partnership with them," Christie said on ABC's "Good Morning America" of his dealings with the White House.

But Christie said that his words shouldn't be interpreted with a political bent.

"I have a job to do," he said on Fox News Tuesday morning. "I've got 2.4 million people out of power, I've got devastation on the shore, I've got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don't know me."

It's unclear when the president will get back on the campaign trail himself, considering that Sandy left 33 dead in the U.S., around 8 million households without power and resulted in massive flooding in several states.

On Wednesday, Republican nominee Mitt Romney's campaign converted an Ohio rally into an impromptu effort to collect storm-relief supplies. Running mate Paul Ryan conducted a similar event in his some state of Wisconsin.

But with fewer and fewer days left to campaign, Romney will get back on the trail full time on Wednesday with three stops in the toss-up state of Florida. Ryan will headline three events in Wisconsin.

For Obama, campaign efforts have been humming along in his absence. Former President Bill Clinton hit the trail for Obama in Minnesota and Colorado Tuesday and Vice President Joe Biden will get back on the trail with two stops in Florida on Wednesday. The vice president also did two interviews with Univision Radio on Tuesday.