Obama endorses de Blasio for NYC mayor

NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama endorsed fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio on Monday in the race for New York City mayor.

Obama, in a statement, hailed de Blasio’s vision of “progressive change,” a campaign theme similar to the president’s in 2008. In endorsing de Blasio, Obama called attention to areas of policy overlap, such as expanded pre-kindergarten, affordable housing and health care.

“Bill’s agenda for New York is marked by bold, courageous ideas that address the great challenges of our time,” Obama said.

Obama is the latest national Democrat to endorse de Blasio after he became the party’s nominee. In the past week, the public advocate was backed by former President Bill Clinton, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and both of New York’s senators.

In 2009, Obama waited until mid-October to endorse Democrat Bill Thompson. That elicited criticism from some Democrats who felt the president should have done more to help Thompson. He lost to Mayor Michael Bloomberg that November.

Although Obama has actively raised money for national Democratic campaign committees during his second term, he’s mostly steered clear of endorsing individual candidates. But last month, Obama threw his support behind Cory Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, N.J., in his race for U.S. Senate.

De Blasio will face Republican nominee Joe Lhota and independent candidates in the Nov. 5 election.

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