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Bloomberg endorses Obama, citing Sandy and climate change

 

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama on Thursday, invoking Hurricane Sandy and the president's work to address climate change.

As New York reels from the fallout of this week's hurricane, which caused 37 deaths in the city, Bloomberg said Obama was better-suited than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to curb carbon emissions.

The President tried to make up for lost time on Thursday, launching a five-day battleground tour and also collecting an endorsement from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Romney, meanwhile, hammered away at Obama during a campaign stop in Virginia. NBC's Peter Alexander reports.

"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 wrote. "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."

The three-term mayor and billionaire further lauded Obama for taking "major steps to reduce our carbon consumption." In turn, Bloomberg said that on the issue of climate change, Romney had "reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported."

A former Republican who has since declared himself independent, Bloomberg did not make an endorsement for president in 2008. He cited other issues, including Obama's health care reform law, approach to abortion rights and support for same-sex marriage, in reaching his conclusion.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media during a news conference about Updates to New Yorkers on Preparations for Hurricane Sandy in New York, October 26, 2012.

"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," Obama said in a statement.

The endorsement comes, though, amid one of the worst storms to batter the New York area in recent history, Obama's response to which has drawn him plaudits from a bipartisan array of figures, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Obama also added: "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."

*** UPDATE *** An Obama campaign official told NBC's Kristen Welker it's impossible to know the impact of the endorsement but called it a "net positive" citing the fact that Bloomberg has an audience of independent-minded voters. Campaign officials say they were made aware the of the endorsement before Bloomberg announced it.  

One Republican operative suggested the endorsement could actually hurt the president calling Bloomberg "the most anti-gun politician" in the country. The operative predicted the endorsement won't play well in states with heavy-hunting populations like, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or Minnesota.  "So congratulations, Mr. President," the operative said sardonically.