Heroism and Hardship: Why Bloomberg Changed His Mind and Endorsed Obama

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) attend a press conference outside the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel Photo: Allison Joyce/2012 Getty Images

Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't indulge in much public emoting. Yet he is often moved by the heroism and hardship he sees up close. Bloomberg has had an overload of both extremes in the past four days as the city struggles to recover from Hurricane Sandy. The mayor has also been a major donor to environmental causes and has a rational scientist's understanding of climate change. Now he is witnessing the damage of a catastrophic storm and thinking about how to confront the fact that regular evacuations and blackouts aren't a great thing for New York's future.

So during the past 48 hours, between managing the city's housing, power, and traffic crises, Bloomberg worked on a draft of the statement he might give endorsing Barack Obama, based primarily on the president's efforts to fight global warming — and on Mitt Romney's reversals on cap and trade and other issues. Yesterday afternoon the mayor went to the Tottenville neighborhood of Staten Island, on a visit closed to the press, visiting a block where a 13-year-old girl and her father were killed and meeting with devastated residents whose homes had vanished in the flooding. He returned with his mind pretty much made up. After a night's sleep on it, the mayor's final decision came this morning.