Leading off a report on Tuesday's NBC Today about President Obama's trip to survey recovery efforts along New Jersey's shoreline after Hurricane Sandy, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "[The President's here] really to see the improvements to this area, and also to refocus the conversation away from some recent headlines. Focusing on what he wants to focus on: government at its best, bipartisanship, and efforts to improve the economy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, on CBS This Morning, correspondent Major Garrett almost identically announced: "President Obama is eager to look at federally-financed repairs on the Jersey shore – to his mind, a welcome contrast to IRS bungling and Justice Department snooping....Today's trip could also inject some life into Mr. Obama's scandal-starved push for Beltway bipartisanship."
On Today, rather than offer any skepticism of Obama's attempt at distracting attention away from the scandals plaguing his administration, Alexander eagerly helped promote the PR effort: "Just days after the President pledged his ongoing support to the residents of Moore, Oklahoma, a moment to deliver on that promise in another storm-ravaged state."
Garrett similarly noted: "Fresh from a tour of tornado damage in Oklahoma, President Obama wants the country to see federal dollars at work. There are few better places than reopened tourist haunts on the New Jersey shore."
Wrapping up his NBC report, Alexander made sure to highlight anonymous quotes praising the President's visit: "We've had a chance this morning to visit with some of the people who live here along the Jersey shore....One person called today's visit 'monumental.' Another one said, 'I just hope the President shows everybody that we're back open for business.'"
At the end of his report on CBS, Garrett described the presidential trip to the Garden State as "Mr. Obama's New Jersey victory laps."
Here is a full transcript of Alexander's May 28 report on Today:
7:00AM ET TEASE:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Together again. President Obama reunites with Governor Chris Christie this morning, crossing party lines for a tour of the storm recovery along the Jersey shore.
7:01AM ET TEASE:
MATT LAUER: We were down on the Jersey shore on Friday. We got to see firsthand how far that area has come since Hurricane Sandy seven months ago. Still a lot to be done. And we're going to be talking about the President's visit there in just a little while.
7:03AM ET SEGMENT:
LAUER: Meanwhile, President Obama is visiting the Jersey shore this morning to see the recovery from Superstorm Sandy and to meet again with Republican Governor Chris Christie. NBC's White House correspondent Peter Alexander is in Asbury Park ahead of the President. Peter, good morning to you.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Christie and Obama Together Again; President, Governor to Tour Jersey Shore Today]
PETER ALEXANDER: Matt, good morning to you. It has been nearly seven months since President Obama was last here. This time under different circumstances, really to see the improvements to this area, and also to refocus the conversation away from some recent headlines. Focusing on what he wants to focus on: government at its best, bipartisanship, and efforts to improve the economy.
It may not be the postcard most people remember, but with the Jersey shore officially now reopened and rebuilding, at least in places, underway, the President will view this battered landscape for the first time since the days after Sandy struck. His guide again, the man who might try to succeed him, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Many Republicans are still frustrated by their last tour here together. The President and his host famously exchanging compliments in the waning takes of the 2012 election.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: I cannot thank the President enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state.
BARACK OBAMA: I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership.
ALEXANDER: On Friday, Governor Christie told Matt he couldn't care less about any political consequences from today's visit.
CHRISTIE: The fact of the matter is, he's the President of the United States and he wants to come here and see the people of New Jersey. I'm the governor, I'll be here to welcome him.
ALEXANDER: And there's plenty of progress to show off. All but one of the state's 23 boardwalks are now open, with new storefronts peppered in among the old. Bernadette Moore, whose twin daughters are about to head off to college, runs this pretzel stand in Seaside Heights.
BERNADETTE MOORE: My kids have grown up down here. You know, we all work, the whole family works. So it just really means a lot to us to have people coming back.
ALEXANDER: Just days after the President pledged his ongoing support to the residents of Moore, Oklahoma, a moment to deliver on that promise in another storm-ravaged state.
We've had a chance this morning to visit with some of the people who live here along the Jersey shore, Savannah. One person called today's visit "monumental." Another one said, "I just hope the President shows everybody that we're back open for business." Tourism here is a nearly $40 billion industry.
GUTHRIE: Alright, Peter Alexander along the Jersey shore, thank you.