New York: US President Barack Obama on Thursday reached New Jersey to begin a tour of the Sandy-ravaged state with Governor and one of his top Republican critics Chris Christie as cities hit by the massive storm began their slow process to recovery.
New Jersey is one of the worst hit states by superstorm Sandy, which has killed nearly 59 people as it pummelled the US East Coast.
Obama, who had suspended his election campaigning as the storm struck the eastern seaboard, reached New Jersey.
He was greeted by Christie and the two shook hands at the bottom of the stairs from the president's plane before leaving for a joint tour of the state's devastated coast.
The trail of destruction left by the storm had prompted the President to declare it a "major disaster" in New York and New Jersey.
The tour of the area was expected to last about an hour during which Obama is expected to take stock of the situation on the ground.
Obama's press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that the tour should not be seen as a political event.
According to the New York Times, Carney said, "This is a time to focus on what were a devastating storm and the terrible aftermath of that storm."
Carney added, "New Jersey was by many measures the hardest hit state, I believe that's correct. It is entirely appropriate for the president to visit New Jersey and receive updates on the efforts there to recover and to view firsthand the damage inflicted by Sandy. This is not a time for politics."
Christie has been one of the fiercest critics of Obama and had spoken in support of Obama's Republican rival Mitt Romney at the party's national convention, has been praising Obama for the leadership role he has displayed in handling the crisis after the storm.
Lauding Obama's response to Sandy, Christie said "The president has been great. The president has been all over this, and he deserves great credit."
On why the president chose to visit New Jersey, Carney said "we are very careful about making sure that the places that we visit we are not using resources that would otherwise be used in recovery efforts, that's the case."
The massive storm brought the US east coast from North Carolina to Connecticut to a standstill with widespread power outages and shut down of the mass transit system crippling life for millions of residents.
The cities are starting to slowly inch back to normalcy as authorities begin restore power, clear debris and partially resume public transport services.
New York City's crippled subway system, which caters to 5.3 million riders each weekday through 21 subway routes and 468 stations, was beginning to resume partial service.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the subway system will resume limited operation and the service would be supplemented by a "bus bridge" between Manhattan and Brooklyn.


Latest News from World News Desk