Chris Christie: I Never Hugged Obama

The New Jersey governor shrugs off bromance, calls it a "handshake"

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie upon his arrival at Atlantic City International Airport in Atlantic City, N.J., on Oct. 31, 2012

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says his greeting of President Barack Obama when the president arrived in Atlantic City to tour the devastation from Hurricane Sandy was not, as many have said, a “hug.”

The potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate made a point to clear up the misconception in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer published Sunday, discussing the approaching one-year anniversary of the storm.

“It was a handshake like you would shake hands with anyone,” he said. “It was a perfectly natural, casual, normal type of greeting between two people. And you know, it’s become legend.”

Christie said the famed snapshot — showing the two leaders gripping hands and Obama with a hand on Christie’s shoulder — portrayed Christie’s bipartisan side, incited anger among some Republicans, and has been a constant source of questioning, even by those who haven’t seen the photo.

“If he deserved to be trashed, I would have, as I had many times before that,” he said. “But he didn’t deserve it.”

In a separate interview with the Associated Press, Christie blamed Congress for the delay in $50.7 billion in Sandy aid, which took three months to approve.

[The Philadelphia Inquirer]