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President Obama, N.J. Gov. Christie to tour Jersey Shore coastline

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(CNN) — President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will survey the Jersey Shore coastline together next week, a White House Official told CNN Thursday.

Their Tuesday meeting comes about seven months after the late October storm Sandy displaced tens of thousands and caused billions of dollars in damage. It also comes on the heels of the Memorial Day weekend, when several portions of the shore popular among tourists are set to reopen.

Obama “will speak about the importance of reigniting and expanding economic opportunity for middle-class families who were hard hit by the storm, and meet with business and homeowners who have benefited from the recovery efforts,” the White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

When the two toured the damage in October – days out from the November election – Christie’s kind words and warm embrace for the president landed the two in political headlines. The Republican governor also blasted members of his own party who held up storm aid legislation.

He defended his assessment of Obama, saying in an interview on CNN, “When the president does things that deserve praise, I will give him praise. When the president does things that deserve scorn, I will give him scorn.”

Those moves drew criticism from some conservatives, including the organizers of CPAC, who declined to invite him to their major annual conservative conference.

But at the same time, Christie’s approval ratings at home skyrocketed in the months following the storm, when he toured damaged communities and held news conferences in fire stations.

Christie is up for re-election in November and considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

Obama also toured parts of New York shortly after the devastating storm. At a fundraiser in New York City earlier this month, he said the resiliency of the communities he visited should be an inspiration.

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