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. Richard Bell

    I must say, this is the kind of leadership this country needs. Here is the leader of the most power country in the world willing to risk his political capital to bring the Olympic Games to the USA.

    September 28, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. ryan

    Really? That seems like the most unimportant obligation right now. We have Iran playing war games, Gitmo not closing when it should be, no exact and clear exit strategy for Afghanistan and Iraq that was promised, completely ignored gay rights, did this country fall back asleep or what?

    September 28, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. BJD55

    This is such nonsense! Where is the sense of priorities!!! So here we have our nation in crisis on many fronts (lack of jobs, piles of debt, healthcare debate, banking, housing, etc), Iran is shooting off missiles, North Korea lurking in the wings and Our Leader is vying for the Olympics in "an unprecedented" trip no other US President has made??? Maybe they understood the POTUS job description better. Can't Michelle, Oprah et al handle this endeavor. Who is paying for both the Pres and the First Lady to make this pitch??? I just find it unfathomable.

    September 28, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Shawn - GA

    So the IOC is supposed to just be so grateful that the President took his eye off of Iran, healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan to so he can come and smooth talk them into giving his home town the Olympics??

    Not impressed once again with this choice Mr. President

    God Bless America, her people and her President.

    September 28, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. earle

    hope rio gets it.

    September 28, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. sine

    I think it's great!! He has a personal stake in US economy doing well and he's working hard to bring a stimiulus such as the Olymipics back to a US city and what better city than his hometown Chicago. If anyone trys to make this negative...just go jump of a bridge because you are really leading a miserable life.

    September 28, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. Realist

    Of course he is doing this, it was probably a condition to sift his way though the stench of Chicago politics he is covered with. Way to act persidential, instead groveling to the Olympic committee to line the pockets of your followers in Chicago who will make millions if it occurs there, which will in turn land in his campaign coffers.

    September 28, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. munchmom

    STAY home and do some work–quit campaigning for everything from your lousy health care reform to the Olympics. We don't have the money to get any city ready for something this big. Every state is broke, remember????

    September 28, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. matt

    That's good! As the new CEO of auto industry, it's good to see him take a break on health care and immigration policies (not to mention Iran firing Nukes) to focus on more important issues like.... who can run the fastest!

    September 28, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. Matt

    Economy in shambles, heath care bill on the rocks, Afghanistan going south, Republican re-emerging, and sinking poll numbers... Of course NOW would be a great time to push for the Olympics!! Just what Chicago needs... ANOTHER chance to highlight for the world just how corrupt we are! Bravo Mr. President... and inspired effort!

    September 28, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. Swamp Thing

    Will somebody confiscate this moron's passport, take him by the arm and show him where the Oval Office is? Barry – you won. Get to work for a change!

    September 28, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. phoenix86

    The boondoggle presidency. All fluff and no substance.

    September 28, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Crosby

    HELLO!!!! Can't this president ever stay home. Don't we have enought serious issues that need to be address!!! Beside I do not know if we as the United States can afford to have the Games here. Not to mention all the police that will be required.

    September 28, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. no olympics

    With a war in Afghanistan, the economy in a shambles, and his country woefully divided over his propsed healthcare initiative, one would think our President would not be groveling to the IOC by going to this meeting. Talk about messed up priorities.

    September 28, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. kray..

    Call me krazy, but is this the president’s job? I think he has more pressing issue than trying to secure the Olympics to lines his old buddy’s pockets with money. How much is this trip costing the tax payers? I know Obama doesn’t care what it costs but the tax payers should. Wake up America!

    September 28, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. C Trebout

    What is wrong with this man? Can't his wife and all the others going with her do a good enough job? How much is this going to cost the American people? What if the Olympic bid was for another US city? Would he go at all? This is way over the top and a total waste of money. Instead of cracking down on fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare let's look at what is going on in the White House. Is anyone else tired of the daily messages from Obama? How much attention can one man want for himself? It's called arrogance and it is getting very old this soon in the game.

    September 28, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Kevin

    Not like he has anything important to do around here? Bottom line is having the olympics is a huge burden on the city for years leading up to and years after, all for a months worth of games that brings in money that doesn't even come close to what it costs to put all of the venues together. Obama priorities are completely off on this one. At least he isn't pushing his deeply flawed health care bill while trying to push this.

    September 28, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Dan

    What a clown.

    September 28, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. Bob from OH

    I guess that means Chicago gets the Olympics. How can you say no when the President of the U.S., whose hometown is Chicago, comes to pay the IOC a visit? That's not a bad thing. It also means Obama is willing to do what it takes to bring an economic boost to the U.S.

    September 28, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. CONNIE

    He needs to stay home and let Oprah take care of it, she is going with Michelle. Obama this will cause countries to hate us.

    September 28, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. Vigla

    The Olympics being in a lot of revenue. It's a very wise move...

    September 28, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  22. susie

    Does Obama ever stay in Washington D.C.?

    September 28, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. Susan, Nebraska

    Does President Obama actually ever do anything except travel, give speeches, and appear on TV? We have so many serious and important issues to deal with and he is taking time to campaign for the Olympics... He can't seem to actually make the important decisions; I guess voting present doesn't work when you are the President, that must be why he needs so many czars.

    September 28, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Debra R

    Does the man never work? Yes, the Olympics should be your priority...pay no attention to the economy, illegal immigration, Iran and No Korea. By all means go on Letterman to cement your bromance and pander for the Olympics.....Don't you have a job to do? get back to Washington and do the job we are paying you to do please!!!!!!!

    September 28, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. ds

    What a way to diminish the Presidency. First, and now on two occasions, President Obama uses his position to comment on the actions of individual Americans (and then the Beer summit.. ), spends more time aborad appologizing for the past than evangelizing for the future, and now he is lobbying for the Olympics?

    Being a host country for the Olympics matters to Brazil. They want this to be a coming out party, to show the world that they are a player. It should not matter to the US. We should not be in the same league, dying for the attention and pleading for consideration. This is not the job of the President, this is not in the national interest.

    September 28, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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