New York: President Barack Obama is one of America’s luckiest politicians. Hurricane Sandy gave him a chance to bridge the many political divides, make government work and play the role of comforter-in-chief. He didn’t waste the opportunity.
Voters were more inclined to give Obama a second term next Tuesday after the news was dominated by pictures of him hugging Jersey Shore victims, with his hand on the shoulder of New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie. After damning Obama last week, Christie gushed about a president who has “sprung into action” and “worked incredibly closely with me.”
Governor Christie was not the only one impressed by Obama’s leadership. The initial verdict on Obama’s response is pretty standout. An ABC News/Washington Post poll found 78 percent of those surveyed giving the president “excellent” or “good” marks for his handling of the superstorm. A high 73 percent also gave a thumbs-up to the federal government’s response — so far.
Obama rushed from Florida to Washington to oversee disaster preparation and – as Firstpost columnist Seema Sirohi pointed out (here) – to ensure that his bureaucracy didn’t have “a Katrina problem, the 2005 hurricane that forever stamped ‘callous inefficiency’ on the Bush Administration.” George W. Bush’s presidency started its downhill slide with Hurricane Katrina and a desperate, abandoned New Orleans.
On Thursday, the Obama administration used US Air Force planes to fly repair trucks and equipment from the West Coast to New York. Roughly 4.5 million Americans are still stuck in dark and cold after Sandy. Authorities said on Thursday that the death toll attributed to Sandy reached 90.
NY Mayor Bloomberg endorses Obama
As the floodwaters recede and Sandy’s remnants head into Canada, Obama is getting effusive praise for his handling of the Hurricane Sandy situation. Now, not only does Mother Nature love him, but hurricane-hit New York City’s three-term billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed him on Thursday.
The mayor said that the devastation caused by Sandy brought the “stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.” Bloomberg’s endorsement is huge as the popular mayor who is a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent had refrained from endorsing a presidential candidate. He didn’t back anyone in 2008.
“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,” the mayor wrote in an op-ed column published Thursday by Bloomberg News. (Read it here.)
“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 wrote.
Bloomberg said Obama’s administration has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants. He did acknowledge that Obama’s rival Mitt Romney has a history of tackling climate change, citing his record as governor of Massachusetts.
“But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported,” the mayor wrote. “This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.”
Bloomberg said Sandy changed his views and said Obama was best served to lead on climate change, women’s rights and marriage equality. The Bloomberg endorsement is attracting attention for its focus on climate change and its effort to tie Sandy to humans’ impact on the environment.