New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Obama for re-election this afternoon, saying the devastation from Superstorm Sandy helped him choose the president because of his stance on climate change.
“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 wrote in a op-ed piece on his company’s website, Bloomberg News.
The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent had refrained from endorsing a presidential candidate, and he didn’t back anyone in 2008.
Bloomberg said Sandy changed his views and said Obama was best served to lead on climate change, women’s rights and marriage equality.
“If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that’s why I will be voting for him,” Bloomberg concluded.
The three-term billionaire mayor said Republican candidate Mitt Romney is “a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office.”
But he said Romney has too often changed his position on issues: “If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing.”
Updated: Here’s Obama’s statement on the endorsement.
“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. Just as importantly, we agree that whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or independents, there is only one way to solve these challenges and move forward as a nation – together. 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. And New Yorkers have my word that we will recover, we will rebuild, and we will come back stronger.”