Hurricane Sandy Leads NYC Mayor Bloomberg to Endorse Obama

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As New York and its surrounding areas grapple with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made a suprise announcement and endorsed Barack Obama for president, saying the incumbent is the best choice to tackle climate change.

"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 Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief," Bloomberg, a political independent who backed neither candidate in the 2008 election, writes in an op-ed posted on Thursday to Bloomberg View.

Bloomberg says he suspects that climate change is to blame for the severity of the Sandy, which has claimed 38 lives in New York City alone and caused billions of dollars in damage. And while he has offered sharp criticism of both candidates in the past -- particularly on the topic gun control, an issue brought into sharp focus after the mass-shooting at a Colorado screening of The Dark Knight Rises last July -- Bloomberg says Obama's environmental track record far outshines that of his Republican rival, Mitt Romney's.

"President Barack 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, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year," Bloomberg writes.

By contrast, he says, Romney has "reversed course" on the cap-and-trade policies he once championed in Massachusetts to reduce carbon emissions.

But Bloomberg pins his choice to other issues as well, citing women's rights, marriage equality and rights to health care as areas where he and Obama share similar views.

"If [Obama] 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," the mayor concludes, adding, "And that’s why I will be voting for him."

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