On Thursday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney, saying, “If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him."
According to the New York Times, Bloomberg’s endorsement was largely unexpected. For months, the Obama and Romney campaigns have sought the Mayor’s endorsement.
But Bloomberg,a political independent, has been sharply critical of both Obama, a Democrat, and Romney, the President’s Republican rival, saying that both men have failed to candidly confront the problems afflicting the nation.
But he said Thursday that Hurricane Sandy had reshaped his thinking about the presidential campaign and had decided over the past several days that Obama was the best candidate to tackle the global climate change that the mayor believes contributed to the violent storm, which took the lives of at least 38 New Yorkers and caused billions of dollars in damage,The New York Times reported.
“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,” Bloomberg wrote in an opinion piece published on Bloomberg View.
A billionaire, Bloomberg, who is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, contrasted Obama’s support for abortion rights and same- sex marriage with Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s opposition. Bloomberg also said Romney isn’t sufficiently concerned about climate change.
“Our climate is changing,” he wrote. “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.”
“I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics,” Bloomberg wrote.
Bloomberg also said he might have endorsed Romney, a former Massachusetts governor: “If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president."
Romney lost a 1994 Senate bid in Massachusetts, then won the state’s governorship in 2002, taking office in 2003, according to Bloomberg news.
“In the past he has 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 very health care model he signed into law in Massachusetts,” Bloomberg wrote.
Obama is “honored" for endorsement
In a statement, Obama said he was “honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement.” The president acknowledged Bloomberg’s chief concern, saying climate change was “a threat to our children’s future, and we owe it to them to do something about it.”
“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,” Obama said in the statement, according to The New York Times.
“While we may not agree on every issue,” the president added, “Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time.”
Bloomberg did not endorse a presidential candidate in 2008, when Obama ran against Republican candidate Senator John McCain. He backed President George W. Bush, a Republican, for re-election in 2004.