Citing climate change as the deciding factor, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today endorsed President Obama for a second term, saying Hurricane Sandy "brought the stakes of Tuesday's presidential election into sharp relief."
In the wake of the devastation, Bloomberg, an independent, said the president is the best leader to tackle climate change, which he believes contributed to the storm.
"Our climate is changing," Bloomberg wrote in an op-ed on his personal website. "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."
The mayor, in his third term, praised the president's efforts to reduce carbon consumption and emissions, writing that "when I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there."
Bloomberg's endorsement offers another indication of how the storm, and the president's response to it, is shaping the presidential race in its final days.
Obama Wednesday toured damaged areas with Republican New Jersey governor and prominent Mitt Romney-backer Chris Christie. In a show of bipartisanship, and a budding political "bromance," the president and Christie have publicly praised the others' preparation for and response to the hurricane.
Bloomberg does not offer a wholehearted endorsement of Obama and makes clear his concerns. "In 2008, Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder," he wrote. "But as president, he devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists, which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction. And rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it."
Bloomberg made no presidential endorsement in 2008.
As for the Republican nominee, Bloomberg criticizes Romney for reversing his support for a regional cap-and-trade plan that he signed as Massachusetts governor. "We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward," Bloomberg wrote.
"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," he wrote.
In a written statement, Obama said, "I'm honored to have Mayor Bloomberg's 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.
"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."