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. Proud Member..Party of No

    Let him go....the more time he spends on Air Force One the less time he has to screw up something else and the less time I have to see his hideous mug on tv.

    September 29, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Louie

    The Republicans have short memories. George W. Bush went to Texas for the whole month of August for 8 years. We were at war then, too but you didn't hear them screaming that Bush was taking too much time off. Men and women were getting killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gas was soaring from $1.02 in '01 to $4.10 in '08. The stock market was crashing 15 months before he left office and HE still took his vacations. They're just jealous that Obama is young, energetic, and is able to do the things he's doing.

    September 29, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    The guy is hopelessly addicted to television cameras.

    September 29, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Chris ~ Albany, NY

    Does anyone else see this as an economic boost?!?!? We'll have hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world in good old Chi-town USA! There bound to spend $$$ while there here too!!!

    September 29, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Linda

    Another Idiot Republican spreading hate and anger...I pity all of them

    September 29, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Kevin

    You hired the right guy to run the Pubs efforts....
    He has a great desire to be heard on any subject....especially everything Obama.

    September 29, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Robin

    It is not necessary for him to go. Let him send his wife and Oprah.

    Isn't Iran, Afganistan, and unemployment enough to keep you busy?

    September 29, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Robin

    Please, Chicago? You can't even walk to a bus stop without getting beat to death.

    September 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Anne

    It's sad that people like Michael Steele hate America, and even sadder that they hate America's athletes.

    September 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Alex

    One point that Steele seems to have missed (and this is separate from the argument as to whether Obama should go or not) is the fact that a successful Olympics bid for Chicago will immediately – not 7 years from now – spark infrastructure projects, behind the scenes workers, and many other employment opportunities. It's actually a pretty good stimulus situation, provided of course it's handled properly. Some Olympics have been a mess, while others have created urban renewal and lasting employment.

    September 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Beth

    If Obama wants to make an Olympics trip then he can make an Olympics trip. He's the President, Mr. Steele, and it's really none of your business.

    September 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Young independent

    hey smart guy steele, I live in chicago and would love the olympics, and the jobs your saying that would be created 7 years from now, the projects will actually start sooner then that. I would be surprised if the projects started right after chicago was anounced, and the reason why i know that is because we have already been preparing for it this past year and this will just spark chicago and the surrounding areas even more. SO SHOVE IT!!!! don't tell me the president should help my city, it's not like he can't work from anywhere anyway, he's a multitasker un like the pervious oblivious president

    September 29, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Asad

    The Olympics could bring the United States some much needed economic stimulus and the President's appearance will only help our chances. The RNC is ready to oppose anything that Obama does so its hardly surprising that they are against this. I think if Obama decides to give his own money to starving children in America, they would be against that too. Spreading the wealth, they would say. It has really become sickening and I really hope this kind of mindless opposition does not succeed in the polls.

    September 29, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. Rachel

    give....it....up. it is comical the nit picking Republicans are doing now.

    September 29, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. EMJ

    As a life long republican until the last election the Republican party has become a joke. I don't care what he does, what he says, what he wears, who stands near him, BINGO the Republicans attack President Obama like a bunch of lunitics. There isn't a single sentence Obama can say that the weirdos won't jump and complain. I thought during the election there were a lot of crazies out there but now it's much worse. A kill Obama poll on facebook, all these Republican racist making up lies, and a disc jockey who is paid to stir up anything controlling a national party. I had no idea, no idea, how many loonies were in this country, my God. I'm a white southerner and what I see is a race (white people) feeling like they can't control the world anymore. Republicans continue to live in the 1950's and I'm sorry but those days are over.

    September 29, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. Joshau B

    Who cares what Steel Thinks

    September 29, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Someone with common sense, unlike 99.9% of conservatives

    Wait, you mean a ReTHUGlican is opposed to something Obama is doing or saying...say it ain't so, party of "no"

    September 29, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. KC

    Mitt thought it was a good idea!

    September 29, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. John M, NoHo

    The Limbaugh-frightened sheep keep bleeting.

    September 29, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Bob in Pa

    I am wondering wHat have been the expenses so far this year for this guys travel has been.

    September 29, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Mike

    Last time I checked, Mr. Steele did did not tell the President of the United States when & where he could travel. I'm sure he'd have a different story if it was a Republican President doing the same.... hypopcrite!

    September 29, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. DJ

    Get a life Steele...you and your creeps pals seriously need to come up with a better plan than attacking the President for every thing that you guys can think of .

    September 29, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. lysheen

    GOP = Got 0 plans. Just say no. Green technology = NO. Health care reform = NO. Governance = NO. Having Olympics in U.S.A. = NO.

    Why having the president procure the Olympics for the USA would be a bad thing is beyond common sense. But I suppose if your mantra is hating Obama and Democrats, it makes perfect sense.

    September 29, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. obummer, 1 and done

    For those idiots that think this is about 18 hours of his time, let's spell it out for you.

    It's about persception and persception is reality. Perception is obummer cares more about being in the spotlight than anthing else, including me, you, health care, jobs, the economy, Afghanistan, etc. Although, I do not think that is perception, it is reality.

    September 29, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Paul

    Shut up, Michael. Really - just shut up...

    September 29, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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