New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Obama over Mitt Romney on Thursday, saying he believes Obama is a leader on climate change, which Bloomberg suggested was a contributor to the damage wrought on his city by Hurricane Sandy this week.
“Over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks,” Bloomberg wrote on his website. “His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.”
Bloomberg is an independent who has been registered as both a Democrat and a Republican. He ran for mayor in 2001 as a Republican but has been unenrolled since 2007.
During the presidential race, Bloomberg has criticized Obama and Romney, most notably after the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., in July, when he called out both candidates for making gun control a back-burner issue.
“You want our votes. What are you going to do about it?” Bloomberg said in an interview with CBS News that month.
Bloomberg’s endorsement of Obama could not be described as full-throated.
“Like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing,” Bloomberg wrote. He added that “if the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him,” referring to Romney’s bids for US Senate and Massachusetts governor.
“I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office,” Bloomberg wrote. “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 also faulted Romney for “abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported” as an energy policy.
Romney has, on occasion, mocked Obama for his attention to climate change, such as during the Republican convention when he said belittlingly of the president, “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise ... is to help you and your family.”
In a statement, Obama said he is “honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement.”
“While we may not agree on every issue,” Obama said, “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.”Callum Borchers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.