Did Gov. Christie praise President Obama last week, as the conspiracy theory goes, in order to throw Mitt Romney under the bus and clear the field for himself in 2016?
Consider this, conspiracy theorists:
In September 2011, long before the presidential campaign had begun, Obama and Christie toured New Jersey in the aftermath of another storm, Hurricane Irene. Afterward, Christie held a news conference, and the words he chose are remarkably similar to the ones he so controversially bestowed on Obama last week in the wake of Sandy.
"I had the opportunity to thank him for his administration expediting the much-needed assistance . . . and complimented him on the great work FEMA did both before the storm and after the storm."
After Irene, Christie called the performance of the Obama administration "outstanding." After Sandy, Christie said "the cooperation from the president of the United States has been outstanding."
So the governor handled the president in the same way during a highly political week, just days before an election, as he did in a far less political week, 14 months before an election.
While touring New Jersey with Obama after Irene, Christie read an article on his iPhone about a former adviser to President George W. Bush saying Christie was considering a run at the presidency.
Christie didn't mention it to the president.
"Discretion is the better part of valor in that regard," he said at the time. "You don't, like, whip out the iPhone and say, 'Hey, Mr. President, look at this! They say I'm actively reconsidering running against you!' Especially when you're looking for FEMA funding, you don't do it."
Because when you need FEMA funding for your state, you're as nice as possible to the man who is responsible for doling it out.