New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election Thursday, in an indication that Hurricane Sandy is affecting the presidential race more profoundly than merely prompting a hiatus in campaigning.
In an Op-Ed on Bloomberg.com headlined “A Vote for a President to Lead on Climate Change,” the mayor wrote, “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 next Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.
“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 may be — given the devastation it is wreaking — should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
Obama “sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet” while Mitt Romney does not, Bloomberg wrote.
The endorsement from Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent, was completely unexpected. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have sought the mayor’s backing, in large part because they believe he could influence independent voters around the country.
Until Thursday, Bloomberg had suggested he would not be endorsing either candidate. Instead, he had created a Super PAC that was seeding millions of dollars in key races around the country. Earlier this week he spent $1.1 million on a major media buy in Florida to defeat a Republican congressman.