New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama today, crediting Hurricane Sandy with bringing "the stakes of Tuesday's presidential election into sharp relief."
In a lengthy op-ed posted on Bloomberg View, the independent mayor says Obama beats Romney on climate change — and the superstorm's devastation of New York reminds Bloomberg that climate change is a crucial issue in this election:
In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods -- something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable. ... 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.
Bloomberg writes that both candidates have strong records on climate change:
...Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions ...
As governor of Massachusetts, [Romney] signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels.
But, the mayor writes, Romney the presidential candidate sings a different tune:
... he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.
He says Romney has backtracked on a number of important issues:
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 ...
However, Bloomberg, who famously endorsed no one 2008, also uses today's op-ed to reiterate his displeasure with the incumbent:
If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him ... I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing. ... Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder. 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.
But Bloomberg ultimately settles on Obama as the lesser of two evils, saying the difference is clear on key issues:
One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. ... One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. ... One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not.