WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush says it was only “symbolism” when N.J. Gov. Chris Christie praised President Barack Obama for the storm relief effort.

Speaking to CBS News, Bush says no one should read anything into Christie’s praise for the president.

“That’s more symbolism than anything else because of course the federal government is going to provide support … you’re not going to ask the president to make sure that the New Jersey Turnpike has power on, that’s not his job … but it is his job to symbolically be the counselor-in-chief … having the president on the ground makes all the sense in the world,” Bush told CBS News. “So, I thought it was appropriate for the Gov. Christie to invite him.”

Christie thanked Obama when the president was in the state Wednesday for having the federal government help with relief efforts following the destructive aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

“I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion,” Christie said with Obama at his side.

Obama was equally effusive about Christie, telling residents that “your governor is working overtime” to repair the damage from the storm.

“The entire country has been watching what’s been happening,” Obama said. “Everybody knows how hard Jersey has been hit.”

Bush, who has been campaigning with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, says all Obama has done is divide the nation.

“I think the country, irrespective of ideology, is yearning for political figures to be creative and innovative and determined to find common ground,” Bush said. “I think the president has spent most of his time explaining away why it hasn’t worked the way he wanted and dividing the country.”

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows Obama and Romney each with 48 percent of support of voters.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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