As if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn't have enough trouble soothing conservative critics who don't like his praise for President Obama's Hurricane Sandy recovery help, the White House Thursday posted a "Picture of the Day" featuring the smiling duo in a brotherly handshake from Obama's Tuesday visit to the Jersey Shore.
"President Barack Obama congratulates New Jersey Governor Chris Christie while playing the 'TouchDown Fever' arcade game along the Point Pleasant boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., May 28, 2013," reads the caption on White House Photographer Pete Souza's photo.
It shows a grinning Obama and Christie in the grip that handshake analysts describe as exhibiting trust and friendliness. It's the open-palm grip similar to one used in arm wrestling.
Body language expert Patti Wood told Secrets that the handshake exhibits a battle between the two politicians. "They are definitely competing, but Obama is trying to appease" Christie, she said.
"It's playful, but the undercurrent is who is going to come out on top," she added. "Obama is trying to cover that greeting with a fake smile."
Christie has brushed off sneers from conservatives who claim he is hurt his 2016 presidential chances by praising Obama's help after Hurricane Sandy crushed the Jersey Shore. His praise came just before the 2012 election and helped the president burnish a bipartisan image. Christie said he doesn't care what his foes say of his efforts to get as much federal aid as he can from Obama.
The president doesn't always use that grip. For example, while he did when meeting former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, he didn't when greeting the former pope. And he's most famous for his fist bump with first lady Michelle Obama.