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Mayor Bloomberg Offers President Obama His Prized Halfhearted Endorsement

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks with the media at a press conference announcing the New York Islanders' move to Brooklyn in 2015 at the Barclays Center on October 24, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Bloomberg is voting for the guy with the disappointing presidency.

Despite the generally negligible power and influence of political endorsements, it's a fact that Mayor Bloomberg's personal seal of approval has been highly sought by both the Obama and Romney campaigns this year. But with just five days until election day, it seemed as if Bloomberg — who has been harshly critical of both candidates on a number of issues, particularly gun control — would simply sit this one out, just as he did in 2008. (He backed George W. Bush in 2004.) But this afternoon, just five days before election day, Bloomberg released an op-ed (on Bloomberg News, natch) declaring his support for President Obama.

The Obama campaign is surely happy to have won the imprimatur of such a successful businessman and high-profile independent. However, unlike the recent endorsement of another political moderate, Colin Powell, Bloomberg's probably won't be the focus of any campaign ads:

If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing.

In 2008, Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder. But as president, he devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists, which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction. 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.

No, we didn't paste the wrong text here — this really is an Obama endorsement. Later in the piece, Bloomberg also states that "neither candidate has specified what hard decisions he will make to get our economy back on track while also balancing the budget." So, uh, why is he endorsing Obama again? Because there are actually a handful of things he likes about him!

The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America.

One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.

One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.

One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.

So Bloomberg is basing his vote on abortion rights, gay marriage, and climate change. Sorry, Mitt Romney — you never had a chance.

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Photo: Bruce Bennett/ Getty Images