Let the wild speculation cease. President Obama finally uttered Bill Thompson’s name.
When the president endorsed Mr. Thompson two weeks ago, his press secretary never actually said Mr. Thompson’s name–referring to him instead as “the Democratic nominee”–leading some to wonder whether Mr. Obama was simply doing his duty as party leader.
This week, with the president making his first trip to New York City since the endorsement, the press wondered how Mr. Obama might help Mr. Thompson. Some kind words? A slap on the back? Maybe something that could be used for an advertisement in the campaign’s final stretch? Mr. Thompson wondered too. “We’ll see what he does,” he told the press on Monday.
Mr. Obama ended the speculation last night with this simple line: “Our great city comptroller, our candidate for mayor, my friend Billy Thompson is in the house.”
But afterward, according to pool reports, when a reporter for Politico asked Mr. Thompson whether he considered the comments to be an endorsement in his uphill fight to unseat Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, he pointed at the reporter and said: “No. Do you consider it an endorsement?”
Whatever it was, it can’t hurt Mr. Thompson in a city where the president got more than 75 percent of the vote in four of five boroughs, right?
Well, The Awl thinks maybe not. “[His] friends really have to stop calling him ‘Billy’ in the press,” they wrote after the first mayoral debate, “no one is going to vote for a grown man named Billy.”