New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama’s re-election today, highlighting the issue of climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, as well as other issues, including health care, abortion and gay rights.
“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” Bloomberg said in a column on his eponymous news service.
Bloomberg pointed to the hurricane as a sign that the world should act on the climate change issue.
“Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action,” he said.
Bloomberg praised Obama’s regulations doubling fuel efficiency for cars and trucks, while restricting mercury emissions, which Bloomberg said would help close the dirtiest coal plants.
Bloomberg said that Mitt Romney had previously sought to tackle climate change, including signing on to a regional cap-and-trade plan while governor of Massachusetts before distancing himself from it.
“I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office. He understands that America was built on the promise of equal opportunity, not equal results. In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts,” Bloomberg complained.
Bloomberg said he might have endorsed a Romney candidancy in 1994 or 2003, but not the candidate Romney is presenting himself as in 2012. He called Obama’s first term in office “disappointing” and took the president to task for not building a coalition of centrists. He also praised the president for his education policies and expanding health insurance. And he cited abortion rights and marriage equality in his decision.
Obama said he was honored to have the endorsement.
“I deeply respect him for his leadership in business, philanthropy and government, and appreciate the extraordinary job he's doing right now, leading New York City through these difficult days,” Obama said in a statement.
“While we may not agree on every issue, Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time — that the key to a strong economy is investing in the skills and education of our people, that immigration reform is essential to an open and dynamic democracy, and that climate change is a threat to our children's future, and we owe it to them to do something about it.”
Obama added, “I look forward to thanking him in person — but for now, he has my continued commitment that this country will stand by New York in its time of need.”