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Obama Surveys Sandy Damage In NJ

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Politics may be the furthest thing from the minds of New Yorkers right now, but voters across the country will nevertheless go to the polls in less than a week to elect the President of the United States. President Barack Obama took a break from campaigning Wednesday to survey some of the damage. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

It is just about the only thing that could have derailed President Barack Obama's campaign plans: a deadly hurricane that has crippled the tri-state area.

"Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones," Obama said.

The president went to New Jersey to survey the damage.

"We are here for you, and we will not forget," Obama said. "We will follow up to make sure you get all the help you need until you've rebuilt."

His local guide? Republican Gov. Chris Christie, the very same governor who gave the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August. Christie has been one of the strongest supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This week, he has only had kind words for the president and the way he is handling the storm.

"I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state," Christie said.

At a press conference Tuesday, the mayor suggested he was not eager for the president to visit New York City.

"We'd love to have him but we have lots of things to do," the mayor said. "I'm not trying to diss him."

Romney was back on the campaign trail in Florida. He asked the crowd to help out with the relief effort.

"It is interesting to see how people come together in a circumstance like this, Romney said. "Please, if you have an extra dollar or two, send them along."

The massive storm and the wake of destructive it left behind is overshadowing the presidential campaign and presenting a challenge to both candidates. Each needs to focus on politics but neither wants to appear like they are doing so at the expense of the storm's victims.

Kevin Madden, a Romney senior advisor, did not want to say whether the storm would help or hurt his candidate.

"I don't want to continue to try and handicap the advantages or disadvantages of the storm," he said. "I think a lot of people were affected by it negatively, and it doesn't really make sense to do that."

Either way, voters will decide who the next president is in less than a week.

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