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President Barack Obama waded into the New York City mayoral race on Monday, officially endorsing Democratic nominee Bill de Blasio.

“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,” the president 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.”

In a statement of his own, de Blasio said he is “deeply honored” by President Obama’s 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,” de Blasio said. “On health care, tax fairness or the economy, the President is no stranger to addressing big problems with big ideas and big solutions. I will emulate the example he has set, and if elected I stand eager to work with him on an urban agenda that grows prosperity for all.”

As Colin Campbell points out at Politicker, the president’s endorsement of de Blasio is significantly more enthusiastic than his 2009 endorsement of then-Democratic nominee Bill Thompson, who narrowly lost to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg would go on to offer Obama a key endorsement in the president’s 2012 re-election campaign.

The endorsement is hardly a political risk for President Obama; every poll of the race finds de Blasio on track for a landslide victory over the Republican nominee, Joe Lhota.

This is just the latest in a string of high-profile endorsements for de Blasio. Since de Blasio clinched the Democratic nomination, President Obama, former president Bill Clinton, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and vanquished opponents Thompson and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have all come out in support of the public advocate.

AFP Photo/Timothy Clary

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