September 29th, 2009
12:18 PM ET
5 years ago

Steele says Obama's Olympic trip 'not necessary.'

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is sharply criticizing President Obama's planned trip to Denmark.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is sharply criticizing President Obama's planned trip to Denmark.

(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is sharply criticizing President Obama's planned trip to Denmark to promote Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics, characterizing the 24-hour trek as an unnecessary distraction.

"I think at a time of war, I think at a time of recession, at time where Americans have expressed rather significantly their concerns and frustrations over the course of the spring and summer …this trip, while nice, is not necessary for the president," Steele said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Steele is the latest Republican to take aim at Obama's decision to accompany his wife Thursday night to the International Olympic Committee meeting in Copenhagen where representatives from the four finalist cities will make pitches ahead of the IOC vote in a few weeks. It is the first time a U.S. president has attended an IOC meeting.

"I think the first lady would have been and should have been the lead here, and let her go and sell Chicago," Steele also said. "The goal should be creating not job opportunities seven years from now, but job opportunities today."

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, and Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, both leveled similar criticisms at the president Monday.


Obama will leave Thursday night, attend meetings on Friday morning, and return Friday afternoon, the White House said. First lady Michelle Obama will leave ahead of her husband, on Tuesday night. 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 in-person pitches.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended the trip Monday as a potential economic boon for the U.S. economy.

"Obviously any Olympics showcases the country that those Olympics are in and there's a tangible economic benefit to those games being here," he said. "And the president wants to help out America's bid."


Filed under: Michael Steele • Olympics • President Obama
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Pepou

    Steele: Please shut up.

    September 29, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Brett

    I think it is safe to say that Michael Steele ain't all that necessary.

    September 29, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. lmj

    If he had chosen NOT to go, then Steele would have said that Obama is letting the U. S. down by not supporting our Olympic bid. Do these never get tired of harping on insignificant stuff. How about putting some time into coming up with a healthcare plan? NO, they are too busy trying to lambast Obama for everything.

    September 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. Teresa

    When is the last time the President bothered to visit our troups in either Afganistan or Iraq?

    His priorities are all messed up. I agree let the first lady handle this.

    September 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Erin

    Yeah How dare he go out and support our country in a bid for something will bring in help for economy! What a total waste of time....Go ahead Republicans keep up the stupid points it keeps us Dems laughing and not with you AT you.

    September 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Peter

    Here they come from the woodwork......

    Christ could not even make Mccain win in florida....

    This guy steele always put foot in his mouth.....
    What do you expect from the two...

    Very hopeless people indeed!

    September 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. scott

    Omg. The GOP is criticizing Obama?? If he found the cure for Cancer all by hisself they'd find an issue with that too somehow. Their strategy is to be as Vile as possible and scare the many voters who don't look into info and details themselves and become self educated.

    September 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Totally agree.......the Obama trip to lobby for the Olympics, is ill-timed, and wrong for America, NOW!

    America has a great many essential corrections needed, to the status quo, and hosting the Olympics is simply wasteful at this time.

    September 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Obama will leave Thursday night, attend meetings on Friday morning, and return Friday afternoon,"

    Soooo, this hullaballoo is about all of approximately 18 hours of his time, 8+/- of which he'd be sleeping anyway? How ridiculous can you get? Needless to say, Mushmouth's opinion is what really "isn't necessary."

    Grumpy Old Pantwetters.

    September 29, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. TWM

    And how many "useless" trips did Dubya take on the peoples coin?
    And how much "time off" did Dubya take in Crawford?

    You guys need to be working on your "health care" plan that you waved at Mr. Obama BUT no one has seen!

    September 29, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Tony in Maine

    Of course he did. Just as he'll say Obama had nothing to do with the jobs or revenue it generates if Chicago gets it.

    Whadda maroon.

    September 29, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Brad

    Simple comment for Mr. Steele: No one cares what you think!

    September 29, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Moderate Democrat

    Of course it's not necessary. But republicans do not understand something like 'Being Productive" or "Initiative' or "going beyond the call of duty".

    Steele is simply another one of those lazy repubicans that wants to continue to collect a check from Uncle Sam for doing NOTHING and opposing anything that would cause himself (and others in his party) to actually WORK.

    September 29, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Paul from Phoenix

    And he is correct. This could easily have been done by Webcast. Instead, we the taxpayers have to foot the bill for yet another vacation for Obama.

    September 29, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Jann in Denver

    Shut up Steele. Nobody cares what you think.

    September 29, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Vickie

    I think.......I think.....
    I think you need to stop critiqueing and criticising AND start contributing.

    September 29, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. TangledThorns

    This is a waste of time for a President who should be dealing with health care, Iran, Afghanistan, and the economy. The vanity of Obama is appalling and shame on the fringe media for not calling him out on it.

    September 29, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Young independent

    "no no no no, no no no no, hey hey hey good bye" to all the GOP, just add this to you list of complaints and whining. So what you saying is that if a republican candidate was in the same position to get the olypics here to boost the economy, they would help the country get it. Wow way to help the country with your negativity. good luck winning anything but the south if you keep this up, your just making yourselves look like sore losers and 5 year olds.

    September 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. lou

    Anyone who believes that Chicago is not already chosen as the site for 2012 is deluding themselves. While it makes great political theater for NObama's wife to "bravely" announce the "gloves are off", you'd have to be a fool to believe she would make such grand gestures without knowing the outcome.

    Putting her out there for this is a political move to make her look more appealing and like she really matters in American politics. The fact is the deal is already done and Chicago is already chosen. The rest is just silly nonsense to make NObama and his ilk look good to the rest of us.

    September 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Janet

    Does anybody really care what Michael Steele thinks – or, anyone else in the Republican Party. If Obama said "the sky is blue" they would find something sinister or unnecessary in the statement.
    Are there any adults in the GOP?

    September 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. matt form NH

    Okay really steele? What better way to stimulate the economy in Chicago then to start redesign and construction for the 2016 games!!!! not only will this bring toursim but construction and event jobs to the area...........

    September 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. Reagan was wrong

    Michael Steele is not necessary.

    September 29, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Angela

    It's not the Chicago Olympics. I wish that all would stop emphasizing Chicago. We want the Olympics to be held in the United States of America.....cause this country is just as rich in culture and beauty as any other. It's not the flag of Chicago that will be displayed....but the flad of the United States!

    September 29, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Tom Walton, St. Petersburg, FL

    Gee, another Republican says "NO". Stop the presses.

    NO Science, NO Gays, NO Olympics, NO Health Care, NO Choice: NO Nothing: just stay home read the Bible and get ready for the Rapture.

    September 29, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Wake Up

    Chicago can't even handle traffic, parking and grass at bears games. go to chicagoansforrio.com .

    I wonder if Obama, Daley and other minions are trying to make millions for friends by having the olympics here. Chicago doesn't want it!

    September 29, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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