Olympics Bound: Obama Lobbies 2016 for Chi-Town

President Barack Obama Oval Office phone call to International Olympic Committee President Count Jacques Rogge, Friday, Sept. 11, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)On Friday President Barack Obama will be in Denmark making his pitch (and leveraging his international popularity) for Chicago’s shot at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Some are wondering if this gamble will be worth it.

From Politico:

The White House knows that the decision to go before the International Olympic Committee is fraught with political risk: The president could be embarrassed on a world stage if he doesn’t land the games.

Plus, more than a few Americans are surely scratching their heads — with his inbox crowded with a troop request for Afghanistan, a new secret nuclear site in Iran, sky-high unemployment and a health care bill in Congress, does the president really have time for this?

More after the jump.

Everyone knows that the president loves his sports, from fencing with a Jedi lightsaber to his love of basketball.  Obama has proudly been not sports neutral at all, doing everything from giving his March Madness picks on ESPN to giving continued shout-outs to the Chicago White Sox. But is it necessary that he go so “home team” that he’s continuing to push Chi-town for the Olympics get? After all, what happens if Chicago doesn’t get picked? Then what? And who had the juice to call in this favor? I didn’t know the Daleys were still rolling like that. It was a long time ago when Richard J. Daley, the father, got President Kennedy to show up for a fundraiser in the middle of the friggin’ Cuban Missile Crisis. But then, Daley did make sure Kennedy won Illinois in his presidential bid against then Vice President Richard Nixon.

Illinois was a cakewalk this time around for Obama, being he was the senator from there and it is his adopted home state. So I think most of this is about super loyalty for his home town. I won’t knock the president’s hustle too much. If anyone can charm the international community for a summer games, it’s him. But I still think it’s a little odd.

15 thoughts on “Olympics Bound: Obama Lobbies 2016 for Chi-Town

  1. I think it’s awesome. We need the Olympics. This president has proven that it is possible to take on more than one issue at a time, and it’s not like he’s gonna spend a week overseas, not touch bases with his staff and never talk to Gibbs. Come on, Air Force One is the Oval Office in the Sky and his staff travels with him. As soon as it’s annouced that Chicago has won the Olympic bid, everyone will change thier tune. OBAMA TO BRING OLYMPICS TO AMERICA!! Yippee, jobs – jobs – jobs!! No matter what Obama does, he will be critized for it, so why not go over there, present Chi-Town’s bid, and fly on back and sign that health care bill that’s taking Congress forever to put together.

  2. "Plus, more than a few Americans are surely scratching their heads — with his inbox crowded with a troop request for Afghanistan, a new secret nuclear site in Iran, sky-high unemployment and a health care bill in Congress, does the president really have time for this?"~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~President Obama is a real executive, he can do more in one day than GWBush could do in a week or even a month I might wager. I wouldn’t worry about President Obama taking on too much, I think it’s great that he’s pitching for Chicago. If they don’t choose Chicago, at least he tried, and he’ll have nothing to be embarrassed about.

  3. I think he’s going because the ‘deciders’ will be the African members of the IOC – the Europeans will back Madrid, as it would pump money into the euro-coffers, Similarly, the Asians will back Tokyo and the S American countries will go for Rio…whose left w/o allegiance…. Africa…. And they have already been lobbying them HARD… I wouldn’t be surprised if there hadn’t already been some signal of agreement, so he could go , having made the last minute decision to do so, and ‘bring it home’ so to speak…I am not quite that cynical, but this is politics….

  4. this is so stupid. why is obama even getting involved? last i checked we had national problems, and he’s wasting his time with the olympics?not all questions require your input.good grief.between this, beergate, meddling in state affairs…..the president is trying to put his hand in all things that don’t require it. what’s next, will he tell us when to pay our car registrations?

  5. Perhaps because he’s been involved since Chicago initially submitted their bid to the USOC to win the US city spot for submission to the IOC…

  6. he used to be involved in the US senate, and Illinois state senate. should he continue his involvement in those?

  7. I wonder how much their trip is costing taxpayers? I was listing to NPR the other day and they had a piece on Chicago’s bid and stated that most of these operations end up costing taxpayers.

  8. @swiv and scott…..why does it matter? because having the Olympics in a city, kinda like the SuperBowl is a major economic boost to the town, which happens to be in the US, which is experiencing an economic downturn and could sure use the stimulus. You say it’s not for another 7 years, well, they’ll have to bid out and break ground on projects long before then to be ready in time. Think construction, think jobs, think tourist dollars, think people spending money on lodging, likely upgrading infrastructure, etc. It’s a form of economic stimulus, reportedly worth at least $4.4B for the City of Chicago. Surely that’s a good return on investment for the tens of thousands of dollars the trip to Copenhagen will cost. He’s just thinking ahead, that’s all.

  9. it matters because there are things that presidents shouldn’t be involving themselves in. things like commenting on local cops handling of a situation, commenting on whether or not david patterson should run for office again. he’s over the national government. let the states and cities and other local governments govern and help themselves.


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