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Barack Obama Gave Dante de Blasio’s Debate Team a Boost

Observer Politics

Last night, mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and his son, Dante, met up with President Barack Obama, who proceeded to offer some prize advice to the 16-year-old.

“It was inspiring for Dante–to say the least–to meet the president and to hear his encouragement. They talked about Dante’s role on his debate team,” gushed a proud Mr. de Blasio this afternoon. 

“The president was very encouraging of him,” he added. “And if you see the Brooklyn Tech debate team doin’ a little better, I think the presidential encouragement may be part of it.”

The meet-and-greet at a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser came a day after the president formally endorsed Mr. de Blasio, and it was clear the candidate was deeply moved by the president’s words. In addition to praising Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Obama noted that he once also had an afro like the younger de Blasio’s, although it “was never that good” and “a little imbalanced.”

“It was incredibly touching, the presidents comments, when he acknowledged Dante and he talked about his own efforts with his own hair in his youth. That was very touching, very warm, very funny. So it was an incredibly gratifying day,” he declared. “I just think it was really a high point for me to be in his presence and the kindness and the encouragement he offered.”

Today’s reflection came as Mr. de Blasio received the endorsement of the Uniformed Firefighters Association outside the famous Hook and Ladder Company 8 on Moore Street, better known as the headquarters of the Ghostbusters.

To that note, Mr. de Blasio vowed a full review of the city’s problem-plagued 911 system and said that his budgets would spare the threats of fire company closures that have become routine in recent years.

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Jill Colvin
Jill Colvin
About The New York City Urban Debate League

Our mission is that every school should have a debate team and every student should have the opportunity to the best debate education opportunities. One of the most critical problems in education today is the academic and civic achievement gaps. Our solution is to provide the best college, career, civic, communication and community opportunities through year round academic debate. Each month we work with thousands of students and hundreds of schools. We support debate practices every day, debate centers every week, tournaments every weekend, workshops every month, debate camps all summer, and year round support for any student and teacher. We are one of the the city’s most award winning curricular and extracurricular programs. We have received awards from the White House, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Presidential Commission on the Arts and Humanities, National Institute for Museum and Library Services, The Social Index of Top 100 Nonprofits, BoardSource, Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator, Teach for America, and by the First Lady as “one of the top arts and humanities based programs in the country.” Why Debate? Debate teaches every academic skill and every academic subject. A Great Debater means a person who has the skills and confidence to lead, to speak up, to argue, to question, to read and write to right the wrongs, to know about the world around you, and to change the world around you.

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