Haley Barbour, who served as Mississippi governor when Hurricane Katrina hit his state, asserted Thursday that “Hurricane Sandy saved Barack Obama’s presidency.”

“It broke the momentum that Romney had coming in to the end of October,” the former chairman of the Republican National Committee told TODAY’s Matt Lauer.

Barbour said too much attention was placed on the praise New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie showered on Obama when the president arrived to tour the damage the storm had left on the state.

“That’s not Chris Christie’s fault. Now, I do think the news media made a much bigger deal out of it that made it sound like Christie was almost endorsing Obama,” he said. “All Christie said was the president is trying to be a good partner.”

Mitt Romney also has blamed Sandy as a factor in his loss to the president. During a private breakfast Wednesday with his most loyal and generous campaign donors, Romney stopped short of blaming Christie directly. However, he did echo Barbour’s belief that Sandy stunted his momentum in the final week of his campaign, the Washington Post reported, based on interviews with those attending.

Barbour said that a governor needs to do what’s in “the best interest of his state and his people.” And in this case, it was to establish a good tone for what will be a years-long relationship with the federal government.

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