Obama: Ed Koch Was The 'Quintessential New Yorker'

02/01/2013 04:46 pm ET

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is praising former New York Mayor Ed Koch as an "extraordinary mayor, irrepressible character, and quintessential New Yorker."

Koch died Friday of congestive heart failure at the age of 88.

Obama said Koch took office when New York was in a fiscal crisis and helped the city's economic revival. He applauded Koch's energy and force of personality. He took note of Koch commitment to causes, including Israel's security.

The topic of Israel created a rift between the president and Koch during Obama's first term, a rift that Koch said was patched after the president came out in a U.N. speech against the Palestinians' bid for statehood.

Obama said he and first lady Michelle Obama send prayers to Koch's loved ones "and to the city that survives him."

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