Gov. Chris Christie (R) hugged a woman who lost her home before he spoke to Superstorm Sandy victims as he alludes to Bridgegate while trying to put it behind him.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor Chris Christie (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

Thursday's meeting was hastily canceled one week ago because of a scandal over traffic jams that appear to have been manufactured by his aides.

Christie and Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable III announced that $800 million in Superstorm Sandy housing recovery funds had been dispersed, a milestone the governor hopes will help put the scandal behind him.

"That number is well above what anybody else is doing that's related to Sandy," Christie said. "We've gotten it done in about eight months. That's $100 million a month that's going out to folks."

Christie said he'd like the process to go even quicker, but the leash is much tighter following the billions of dollars in fraud related to Hurricane Katrina.

Christie alluded to Bridgegate in his comments at the Firehouse. “As I get ready next Tuesday to take that oath of office for a second time, I want you to know that I am as focused on completing this mission as I was when I woke up on the morning of Oct. 30, 2012,” Christie said according to the Asbury Park Press. “And nothing will distract me from getting that job done. Nothing.”

Noting the number of media covering the event, he hoped that they might help the town in their continued recovery from Sandy.  “I hope all these people with cameras will frequent the local businesses so Manahawkin gets something out of this today, other than to see my smiling face.”

About 100 people lined up outside the fire station in Manahawkin to see Christie in his first public appearance outside the Statehouse since the scandal broke.

Christie scuttled the Sandy event last week to hold held a news conference in which he denied involvement in the lane closing scheme.


Dino Flammia and the Associated Press contributed to this report


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