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N.Y. mayor changes tune on Obama library

Updated: July 7, 2014 6:46AM



WASHINGTON — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made his first public push on Thursday for the Obama Presidential Library and Museum to land in New York, saying “I’ve certainly let the Obama team know that we are excited about the idea” with the robust comment coming in the wake of my Thursday column about tepid support from New York leaders for the project compared to the gung-ho efforts of officals in Hawaii and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The first round of bids are due to the Chicago-based Barack Obama Foundation on June 16. Columbia University, where President Barack Obama received his undergraduate degree in 1983, is expected to submit a proposal for the project.

The University of Chicago is gathering letters of support for the the project, even setting up a website to solicit testimonials and is seen as the front-runner. The University of Hawaii Presidential Center Initiative has the enthusiastic support of the Hawaii political establishment.

New York leaders, however, have been silent until Thursday.

De Blasio told reporters, “I think Columbia University is a perfect place for President Obama’s museum, and I’m not sure if they’re going to have one facility or multiple facilities, but I hope that we get at least one piece if they do break it up into pieces.

“I certainly have made an effort, I’ve certainly let the Obama team know that we are excited about the idea, we would do anything we can to be helpful to it. You know, the president went to Columbia, has a real affection for the city, and we obviously can guarantee not only a lot of support for such a museum, but a huge number of people from around the world would be able to visit it.”

De Blasio’s remarks certainly crank it up from what I was told earlier by a de Blasio aide who told me she will “confirm that the city will issue a letter of support for Columbia’s bid and will continue to offer support to them as their proposal moves forward.”

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