Public Advocate Bill de Blasio picked up a powerful endorsement from the commander-in-chief Monday in his bid to become New York's first Democrat mayor in two decades.
“Progressive change is the centerpiece of Bill de Blasio's vision for New York City, and it's why he will be a great mayor of America's largest city," President Barack Obama, the national leader of the Democratic party, said in statement distributed by de Blasio's campiagn Monday morning.
"Whether it’s ensuring pre-kindergarten is available for every four-year old, expanding after-school programs for every middle school student who wants and needs them, making affordable housing available for more New York families and preserving community hospitals, Bill's agenda for New York is marked by bold, courageous ideas that address the great challenges of our time."
That praise is a far cry from the last election here, in which a first-term Obama gave only minimal support to William Thompson, Jr., as he faced Michael Bloomberg in the general race. According to the Daily News, that endorsement came only through the president's spokesman, did not mention Thompson by name, and also contained raise for Bloomberg, an independent who was favored to win a controversial third term (but ended up only narrowly victorious).
De Blasio is far ahead in the first two polls taken in the general election, with de Blasio leading 66-25 in the most recent poll by Quinnipiac University.
“I am deeply honored by President Obama’s endorsement,” de Blasio said in the same release from his campaign. "If I am fortunate to earn the trust of the people of New York on November 5th, I will work every day to advance our shared value of making sure everyone has a fair shot."
Lhota spokeswoman Jessica Proud told The Jewish Week the endorsement was "unsurprising."
Both de Blasio and Lhota were to wade into international affairs this morning, appearing at a press conference outside the United Nations to raise alarm about the threat of a nuclear Iran. The event, timed with the opening of the General Assembly, is organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council.
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