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February 01, 2013

President Obama pays tribute to New York's Ed Koch

President Obama marked the passing of former New York Mayor Ed Koch with a tribute, calling him an "extraordinary Mayor, irrepressible character, and quintessential New Yorker.

"He took office at a time when New York was in fiscal crisis, and helped his city achieve economic renewal, expand affordable housing, and extend opportunity to more of its people," Obama said. "In public office and beyond, his energy, force of personality, and commitment to causes ranging from civic issues to the security of the state of Israel always informed and enlivened the public discourse. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Ed's loved ones, and to the city that survives him."

Koch endorsed Obama for president both times, though not without considerable drama. The Washington Post reported that he endorsed Obama in late 2011, despite a "well documented history of criticizing Obama on Israel before coming around to supporting him."

The Post noted that in 2008, Koch "spent weeks coyly refusing to reveal whether he would back Obama over John McCain — leading to reams of speculation that he would endorse the Republican, and bring many Jewish Americans with him — before finally coming out for Obama."

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