Since Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, causing upwards of $50 billion in economic losses and taking dozens of lives, climate change advocates have used every chance they can get to remind Mitt Romney about his joke mocking Obama’s pledge to “slow the rise of the oceans.” It’s put Romney in an uncomfortable spot at campaign rallies in the last few days, as voters have interrupted rallies or asked him direct questions about his now infamous climate punch line.
But Former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis apparently didn’t get the memo to stop telling the joke in the wake of the storm. Speaking at a large Republican rally this weekend, Davis attempted to repeat Romney’s mocking comments. He changed them to reflect a post-Sandy context, directly mentioning New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s city was ravaged by the Superstorm and who has used the storm to talk about climate change:
“Now four years ago, ladies and gentleman, the president sounded so good. Remember the rise of the oceans would began to slow. The planet would began to heal. Now I don’t know about the oceans; I’ll ask Mayor Bloomberg and Al Gore about that.” [laughter]
Hurricane Sandy has opened a door for discussion of climate change in the final days of the campaign. Last week, as Mayor Bloomberg surveyed the damage to his city, he endorsed President Obama — citing climate change as the top reason.
“One [candidate] 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,” said Bloomberg in a statement.
For many Americans, Sandy has highlighted the relationship between a warming planet and intensifying extreme weather. For others, it’s provided more fodder for jokes mocking the problem.