Obama endorsed by New York mayor

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama’s campaign for a second term Thursday, saying his efforts to fight climate change outweigh his failure on the economy.

But the endorsement came with some tinge of reluctance, with Bloomberg also spelling out the reservations he has about Obama presidency.

Bloomberg first won office in the Democrat heavily dominated city, as a Republican but split from the party and now runs the United States’ biggest city as an independent. He did not endorse a candidate in 2008, having backed Republican George W. Bush in 2004.

He said the president’s reaction in the wake of this week’s devastating superstorm, which swamped much of lower Manhattan and killed 37 people in the city, had influenced his decision to endorse the Democrat.

“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,” he said.

“We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks.”

The statement was carried as an op-ed on the wires of Bloomberg’s eponymous news agency, five days before polling day.

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Obama quickly welcomed the announcement, saying he was honored.

“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,” he said in a statement.

But Bloomberg’s backing was double-edged, noting that while Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder in 2008, he “devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists….

“And rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it,” he added.

Obama, in his reaction, admitted the two men had not always seen eye-to-eye.

“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,” the president said.