Storm drives Bloomberg to back Obama; mayor raps 'flip-flop' Romney

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed Barack Obama for re-election as president, mainly because of his position on climate change.

Bloomberg: "Obama best candidate"

The announcement looks likely to have a substantial effect on next Tuesday's election . It came as a surprise , although the Drum had mentioned the possibilty of an endorsement last week.

Mayor Bloomberg said Hurricane Sandy had "reshaped his thinking" about the presidential campaign and that as a result he was endorsing Obama.

Bloomberg, a political independent, has criticised both Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney, said the New York Times. He said both men had failed to candidly confront the problems afflicting the nation.

But he said he 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 hurricane. At the Republican convention, Romney had made a laugh line out of Obama's climate-change moves.

Bloomberg owns 88% of media giant Bloomberg LP . In an op-ed for Bloomberg View he 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,” 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.”

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency began relief efforts across the Northeast, Romney found himself having to clarify a statement last year in which he supported handing FEMA power back to the states from the Feds.

Both Obama and Romney have wanted the nod from the mayor, believing he could influence independent voters around the country, said the NYT. Until now he had steadfastly withheld his support.

Endorsing Obama , Bloomberg listed steps he had taken on climate change, including pushing rules to curtail emissions from cars and power plants. He also praised Obama’s support for abortion rights and for same-sex couples.

Even more crushing for Romney, he said might have endorsed him except that he had abandoned positions he once publicly held.

“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.”

Obama said he was “honoured to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement. He said climate change was “a threat to our children’s future, and we owe it to them to do something about it.”

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