September 28th, 2009
02:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama to make personal pitch for Olympics

Obama is lobbying for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games to be held in Chicago.
Obama is lobbying for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games to be held in Chicago.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will travel this week to Copenhagen, Denmark, to make a big push for the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Chicago, the White House said Monday.

Obama will join First Lady Michelle Obama and other administration officials in pitching Chicago to the International Olympic Committee on October 2, spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

No other U.S. president has ever attended an IOC meeting.

Chicago is vying for the Summer Games against Madrid, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Leaders from Brazil, Spain and Japan are expected to also make an in-person pitch.

The United States has hosted four Summer Olympic Games. In 1904, the Games were held in St. Louis, Missouri; in Los Angeles, California, in 1932 and 1984; and most recently Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996.

The International Olympic Committee will vote on the host city next month in Copenhagen.

In April, the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Chicago over Los Angeles as the U.S. bid city. Earlier, three other U.S. cities were in the running: Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, California.

The last U.S. city to host an Olympics was Salt Lake City, Utah, which was the venue for the 2002 Winter Games.

Obama held an event at the White House earlier this month to rally for Chicago as the host city.

"I may live in Washington these days, but I've called Chicago home for nearly 25 years," Obama said.

"It's a city of broad shoulders, big hearts, and bold dreams. A city of legendary sports figures, legendary sports venues and legendary sports fans.

"We want these Games!" Obama exclaimed, drawing applause.

While in Denmark, the president and first lady will meet with Queen Margrethe II and her husband, Prince Henrik, the White House said in a release. Obama also is scheduled meet with Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Obama will leave Thursday night and return Friday afternoon, the White House said.


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Jay T.

    Excellent news. Obama can finish his second term at the Chicago Olympics. How jealous those Conserva-nuts will be!

    September 28, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Mike

    This President is absolutly ridiculous!! I cannot believe that he would do that a this time. He is so out of the loop with with the american people. He needs to spend more time taking care of his country instead of his hometown of Chicago..If you voted for this guy, how is that hope and change working out for you??

    September 28, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Ted

    For those of you commenting on the President traveling... Let us not forget President Bush spent nearly 1/3 of his time as President on vacation. This is not a vacation.

    September 28, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. victim of republican greed

    Obama is bringing honor and respect back to the office of president.

    The lack of leadership skills of George "W" Bush diminished the presidency of the United States to that of a den mother for a boy scout troop.

    September 28, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. cliff

    Why would this goofball Obama go over there right now while he is overwhelmed at home with more important issues?

    September 28, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. single mom

    What? He decided he needed something else to campaign for?

    Memo to Barack Obama – remember when you said 'we won, get over it'? That means the campaigning stops and you have to actually start running and leading the government. Enough with the rock-star junkets already. Get to work and stop blaming the Republicans because your own party isn't sure about your health insurance reform policy.

    September 28, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Arnaud

    This is an opportunity to create over 5,000 jobs in the city. Anything will help. GOBAMA

    September 28, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. scott oneill

    Chicago doesn't hold a candle to these other cities- and therefore it doesn't have a chance. This sounds like a political payback by Obama, and nothing elsel

    September 28, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Non-Union and Proud of It

    Yet another victory for unions and his Chicago minions. Hail to the President of the United Unions of America. Sure wish he would spend time working for the rest of us.

    September 28, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Scott, Tucson

    If the Olympic committee were to choose a city other than Chicago, would hey be racists too? Also...who's funding this little Denmark trip for the Obama's?

    September 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. The black Spider

    Even though I consider this as a waste of his time because chicago is one of the most corrupt and violent cities in the US but what do you fools who are criticising the president for not focusing on domestic agenda expect him to do?
    - Create companies called Obama to create Immediate Jobs, I thought you want less governement.
    - He comes to the media to explain what he is doing to fix the mess you said he is over-exposing himself or he is constantly campaigning
    - He gets tough against Iran calling for more sanctions, oh no he is not doing enough
    - He wants to reform the banks to prevent otehr crisis oh no too much government intervention
    The McCain campaign economic advisor was right.
    AMERICANS ARE WHINNERS.

    September 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Robert

    It seems that this President has taken more time to travel around the world than he has to actually do his work. All the money we have to spend to send the president, press corps, military personnel, etc, anytime the President wants to go anywhere could be better put to use at home. This man was not the right choice for this job. I can't wait until he is voted out of office in the next election!

    September 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. J-SC

    I am almost sure that President realizes there are other pressing issues he would like to be working on, but this is one of many things President has to do. A lot of you make it sound like he should be sitting at "the White House" on his computer and crunching numbers to improve economy or to win a war. That is not what presents do! Presidents have to travel, meet foreign dignitaries, meet with advisers, make decisions, and also give speeches at international meetings. When you know that the king of Spain, PM of Japan, and president of Brazil are attending this IOC meeting, you cannot not send our president.

    You may not realize, but bringing the Olympics to a city takes years of preparation and lobbying (ask your friend Mitt). You don't want to let all the hard work by your fellow Americans go to waste by not giving it your best.

    September 28, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Brian in MD

    I'm sure the soldiers in Afganistan are relieved that they were put on the back burner.

    September 28, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Douglas

    This is great!

    Please, if Bush's precious Crawford Texas had the opportunity to host an international BBQ festival, he'd be there.

    It is comptely appropriate for our president to go to a foreign country for a few hours (and I'm sure doing other work the whole time) in order to try to get the Olympics back in the USA again. It is good for the economics of city/state, and for the tourism industry.

    Hotels will be full for many weeks. Stadiums and other venues (like the olympic village) would be paid for by the IOC and hence create many jobs. Advertising would bring a lot of money to the city/state/country. The Olympics would bring business to the food/hospitaly industry...the airlines...the trains/amtrak....buslines....merchandising....

    Just the money to build the infrastructure necessary...which woudl come from the IOC...would be worth it...

    And its a great opportunity for us to show the world more about ourselves.

    September 28, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Kobie

    Why don't some of you people try "THINKING" before you speak out regarding the Presidents intentions and priorities. The President understands that his presence can make the difference in Chicago getting the bid. A lot of you complain about the President taking a 1 day trip to Copenhahen on the tax payer dime. What you need to understand is that Chicago getting the Olympics means substantial job creation due to construction projects, travel, vending, etc. This will certainly boost the economy in the Midwest and be felt by ailing companies all over this nation. A 1 day trip that can bring jobs to thousands and prosperity to a region is well worth it. Stop with the baseless hate.

    September 28, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. inforodeo

    No other American President has ever campaigned for the Olympics because most other American Presidents (including Bush) were busy doing their job.
    Obama will go down in history as "the campaigning president" because that is pretty much all he does! he spent his term as jr. senator campaigning for President, and once he got the office, he began campaigning for the next election, even going as far as to send aides to threaten New York's gov. not to run again next state election. Obama seems to struggle with realizing that he's not (nor ever has) running against George W Bush, too. I can't remember any other president spending so much time persecuting his predecessor ... he's constantly trying to remind the American public that everything was "Bush's fault". If you don't believe me, read one of his speeches ... odds are there will be at least one phrase that accuses the former president of something.
    Campaigning for Chicago – an American city ill-equipped for the Olympics and unlikely to profit (as prior posts have said) isn't going to do any good for the rest of America. If you live in Maine or California or Washington state or Oklahoma, the Olympics in Illinois aren't going to do one bit of good for you. The whole thing is so self-serving that it's a wonder Joe Biden isn't involved, too ...

    September 28, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. patNY

    I am utterly amazed at all the hate and virtriol being targetted at our President for trying to get the 2016 games brought back to the US!

    I recall that when we lost our NYC 2012 bid to London, we were saddened by the news. I would figure more people would be cheering on our Head of State as he does what other Heads of State do in these situations...make the case directly to the IOC for winning the bid to host the games.

    Why do you think Cities all around the world clammer to host the games? Money and prestige. That's what the games bring to the host cities. Its not a burden, but a windfall! Look at Atlanta pre- and post- 1996! Perfect example!

    I suppose if Obama suddenly walked on water, turned stone into bread, etc....republicans would still have something negative to say about him.

    The more the haters speak, the more dumb they look.

    September 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. Kate in San Diego

    Obama could show up with Jesus himself at his side and so many of you would find some way to make it a bad thing. You all are losing what credibility you may have had by whining about absolutely everything.

    September 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. Nana5

    Yeah, he's got nothing more important on his plate – NOW he wants to take over the Olympics. Good Lord, where is it going to end (or do we really want to know). If he'd get his nose out of every single issue there is and try to get one thing resolved, I'd be very impressed. Just got to have that name and picture in front of every media out there or he's not happy.

    He's so far in over his head he can't see daylight. And I once "thought" I supported some of Bill Clinton – but he's as much an idiot as Carter and Obama. Lord, help us cause we can't help ourselves.

    September 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. LISA

    Go get it Mr President! Who cares what the other side says. I know you can do multiple things at a time. Its just the slower crowd that doesn't understand. Work your magic! Tell the family hi.

    September 28, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. faybelle

    glad at least one of us can afford to travel...

    September 28, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Doug, New Jersey

    Why not have the olympics in Baghdad or Kabul? The reality is that each of these cities is much much more safe than the extremely Democrat violent city of Chicago. You can check the murder and crime rates for this extremely blue area, then look at the type of people who run the show in this city, the Daleys, Blagovich, Obama ETC.

    I would want the best of America to be on stage if we were to get the olympics. Therefore if it is going to be anywhere in America, make sure it is in a red area. Red area people are so nice, friendly, compasionate, caring, moral, and respect the law. In other words, lets put the best of America on display, not our worst.

    September 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Sea.gem

    Gotta keep the worship going...will he head to the North Pole next to kick out Santa while pretending it is because he wants to create toy-making jobs back home?...or would that fall under the guise of 'date-night' for our most honorableleader and hiswife?

    September 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. barb

    There are some who CAN multi-task very successfully! Go for it Mr. President!

    All those complaining must be related to my co-worker who just can't seem to handle more than one task at a time, in any given day. It just happens that the President has a cabinet and staff. Everyone must adjust to the fact the this president, unlike the previous, really can work from wherever he is located.

    September 28, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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