"The president is the leader of the Democratic party, and as that would support the Democratic nominee." (See the video below left)
So, he didn't actually mention Thompson's name, and as yet there don't seem to be any plans for Obama to stump with the mayoral hopeful, but that didn't stop his campaign from jumping all over it.
Soon after the Gibbs comment, Thompson put out this reply:
“I am grateful and encouraged to receive the support of the President of the United States, especially on the day that Barack Obama is named a Nobel Prize Winner," the statement said, mentioning Obama's somewhat controversial award. "It is a point of personal pride to receive this endorsement since I made my final decision to run for mayor of this great city while waiting on line to vote for President Obama."
Bloomberg's campaign later put out a statement saying, "We’re not surprised that the President supported the nominee of his party. That's to be expected.”
So far, the Democratic National Committee has been largely silent in the New York mayor's race, a marked departure from strategy in previous years -- especially during Giuliani time.
But Bloomberg, who supports gay marriage, gun control, and abortion rights, isn't exactly a thorn in the Democrat's side.
In fact, in Gibbs' press conference, he followed his "support of the Democratic nominee" phrase with some praise of Mayor Mike.
"The president obviously has had a chance throughout campaigning and his time as both a candidate and as a president, to meet, to know and work with Mayor Bloomberg and obviously has a tremendous amount of respect for what he's done as well," Gibbs said.
Oddly enough, despite Obama's distance from the mayor's race, the White House has felt free to weigh in on the New York gubernatorial situation -- basically telling David Paterson he shouldn't run in 2010.