Even as Barack Obama has avoided politics and campaigning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, politics seem to have reached out to him anyways.
Yesterday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Obama for president, in what might at first have seemed a strange move to make so late in the election. After all, there seems to be little in it for either side. New York is a solidly blue state, Bloomberg is a right-leaning independent, and the mayor even discouraged Obama from visiting New York in the aftermath of the storm.
However, Bloomberg’s endorsement makes sense when you hear his reason for it: climate change.
“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.”
He also cited Obama administration efforts to reduce mercury emissions, which he said helped close some of the dirtiest coal power plants, whose emissions are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.
It’s a masterful political stroke, one that frames his endorsement in an issue that is on the minds of many Americans today. It also increases its importance, even if there is little Obama can do to build upon besides thank Bloomberg.
Also endorsing Obama yesterday was Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz. Despite his criticism of Congress and the White House last year during the debt ceiling crisis, Schultz endorsed the president again, saying Obama had shown “significant leadership.”
In making his endorsement, he noted the fact that Obama had been working closely with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie very closely in the aftermath of Sandy, and that bipartisan effort impressed him.
While it’s likely too late for either endorsement to tip the election in one direction or the other, it could definitely have an impact on discussions of global warming, climate control, and bipartisanship in government in the future.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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