September 23, 2013 10:27 AM
The White House is wading into the New York City mayor's race.
President Obama on Monday endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor, saying that the Democrat will be a "great" mayor for "America's largest city."
Obama specifically cited de Blasio's plans for universal pre-kindergarten as one of the reasons he was backing de Blasio, a former Housing and Urban Development official under-then President Clinton.
“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," Obama said in a statement.
"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."
De Blasio said he was "deeply honored" by the endorsement.
"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," he said.
The president endorsed Bill Thompson for mayor in 2009, but the nod came late in the race and was widely seen as perfunctory. He gave his blessing via a spokesman, and cited none of Thompson's ambitions for the city.
"The President is the leader of the Democratic Party and, as that, would support the Democratic nominee," then-spokesman Robert Gibbs said in 2009.
On the same day Gibbs heaped praise on Bloomberg, with whom Obama has a long relationship.
"The President obviously has had a chance to -- throughout campaigning and his time both as a candidate and as President -- to meet, know and work with Mayor Bloomberg. And obviously [he] has a tremendous amount of respect for what he's done as well," Gibbs said.
IMAGE: JASON REED/REUTERS