October 2nd, 2009
02:20 PM ET
9 years ago

Gibbs: Obama 'absolutely' glad he went to Copenhagen

President Obama said Friday he's glad he went to Copenhagen in an effort to help Chicago win the right to host the Olympic Games.

President Obama said Friday he's glad he went to Copenhagen in an effort to help Chicago win the right to host the Olympic Games.

(CNN) - President Obama said Friday he's glad he went to Copenhagen in an effort to help Chicago win the right to host the Olympic Games. The head of the Republican Party said he's glad the president's coming back.

Obama is disappointed with Chicago's failure to land the 2016 Summer Olympics, his spokesman told reporters on Air Force One Friday – but he's not sorry he went to Denmark to make the pitch for his hometown.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also said that the president is "absolutely" glad he spoke in person on behalf of Chicago's unsuccessful bid, and that he "would never shy away from traveling anywhere, talking to anyone about this country."

Gibbs also said the president was "obviously proud of his wife for the presentation that she made." Michelle Obama had traveled earlier to Copenhagen to lobby members of the International Olympics Committee to choose her hometown to host the 2016 Olympics.

(Updated with Obama's own comments after the jump)

As the president returned stateside Friday, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele released a statement suggesting his efforts to land the Games had been a distraction from more pressing matters.

"While I am disappointed with the IOC's decision, I look forward to the president returning stateside so that he can refocus his efforts on the growing unemployment crisis that was highlighted by today's monthly jobs report," said Steele. "Our country needs the president's undivided attention on the urgent issues facing American families today: rising unemployment, soaring health care costs, winning the war in Afghanistan and dealing with Iran's nuclear threat."

UPDATE: The president told reporters Friday afternoon he's happy he went and made the case for Chicago, even if the bid fell short. "You can play a great game and still not win," Obama said after returning to the White House. "Although I wish we had come back with better news ... (but) I could not be prouder of my hometown."

Filed under: Olympics • President Obama • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Robo

    At least he tried. It would have been nice to have the games in the USA.

    October 2, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Flash in the Pan

    SURE he is....

    October 2, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. MJ

    Let the games begin .. What a waste of Taxpayer's Money. There are much more pressing issues facing American today. Massive Unemployment, Afghanistan, Socialized Medicine, Security. Yet the President uses 2 Jets to fly to Copenhagen with Secret Service and Guests to try and use his influence to bring the Olympics to Chicago. Just another failed Public Appearance to booster his enormous ego.

    October 2, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Fitz in Texas

    Well, Obama might be glad he went, but we the taxpayers sure are not.
    Not only was our money wasted..... check out the carbon footprint the Obama's made. But hey, it's ok for them to do it, after all they preach preach and preach but they sure don't practice what they preach.

    And poor Michelle and her "sacrifice". Give me a freakin break. She flies in a nice private jet along with her friend Opray, dines with the queen and gets a free vacation and she wants to cry "sacrifice". Like I said, give me a freakin break!

    October 2, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Mike in MN

    With scores of issues facing or naiton that are much more important than the 2016 Olympics, Obama had no business spending as much time on this as the did. Sending his wife would should have been enough.
    Obama should be focused on growing the economy and creating private sector jobs instead of just growing government and creating goverment jobs. So far the only jobs that have increased under the stimulus bill are government jobs and part time union construction jobs, nothing for the rest of the private sector. Just more job loses month after month. Obama does not care about anything other than government and unions.

    October 2, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Dar

    Of course he's happy to go to bat for his boys in Chicago, just think of the money his gang could have made off of the Olympic games. IM sure thier mouths were just salivating like the hungry dogs they are.
    I wonder who was going to pay for this since Chicago is broke, OH thats right, the stimulis money, what was I thinking.
    God Bless All

    October 2, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. AJ

    Heaven forbid this man do anything in private or through surrogates. I am a lifelong democrat but am just embarrased for my party. Once again we have thrown away an excellent opportunity when we elected Obama.

    October 2, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Ken

    Thanks for trying Mr. President.

    And to the inane rightwingers that will undoubtedly post their drivel on here: at least Obama didn't instead travel to his ranch where he plodded around aimlessly all day picking weeds from the ground and callouses from his hind end like YOUR hero did.

    October 2, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. big daddy

    As well he should go..No question about it..He was Americas voice and was our best bet but,it didn't work out so,we move on ...

    October 2, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Steph

    I'm glad the President and First Lady went and represented the United States. Rio really did deserve the games since this will be the first Olympic games for South America.

    Michael Steele's comments are laughable. Pres. Obama met with his miliary leaders focusing on Afghanistan, and he announced a major breakthrough getting inspectors into Iran's formerly secret nuclear facility before he hopped on the plane yesterday. The President was gone for less than 24 hours, and he met with Gen. McCrystal while he was there. Apparently, this president can take on so much more than Bushie could. It must be difficult for the republicans to get used to a president who is actually working to make the USA a better place for everyone.

    October 2, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Steve in Kentucky

    Apparently this news was greeted by cheers and jubilation throughout the right-wing netherworld. They wanted Chicago to fail just like they want America to fail.

    So remember, people in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin: These people are happy that your region won't get the economic boost that was expected.

    If you've ever wondered if the Rethuglicans are really on somebody else's side, this is perfect proof.

    October 2, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    HA! Looks like the rest of the world is not as in love with the Obamas as they thought.

    Take that, you mindless Obama Worshippers!! 🙂

    October 2, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Well as a Republican I have to disagree with Steele. Obama has shown he is capable of multitasking. Not only can he fail in his Olympic bid; but he can simultaneously be indecisive on Afghanistan, ignore rising unemployment, lie on health care, and allow North Korea and Iran to walk all over us. Oh and I forgot appease the Russians on missile defense too while ineffectively ordering GITMO closed with no plan how to do it.

    October 2, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Shirley In California

    Well, at least he could go. That's more than I can say for our previous president. He couldn't sell anything to anyone outside of WA for fear of getting a shoe thrown at him or even worse.

    It's true – maybe the president could have placed this on the back burner but it was in OUR best interest he went. Right now he is the CEO of this country and it is HIS job to try and keep us afloat in any manner possible.

    Those of you who cursed the Obama's plans and their speeches, I hope you sleep well tonight – knowing your evil prayers were answered. When you are hungry just remember YOU helped place yourself and your country there. Those of us who really want the country to suceed will continue to hope our president prospers.

    October 2, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Robin

    And it only cost taxpayers just under a million dollars.

    October 2, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Nice try. The Olympics would have been a big win for Obama. What a great way to distract the stupid people from his War, HealthCare, and Economy troubles.

    Now it is just sad and shows how desparate he is for distractions.

    Maybe he can find another white and black guy arguing.

    October 2, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. jon

    Newsflash, charm alone is not going to get it done. This president is turning out to be a lot of flash, not a lot of substance.

    October 2, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Carolyn Jones - Hawthorne, California

    I too feel if the President wants to go and put a word in for the US (as it was not just about Chicago) – Then thats his choice – its' amazing how there are so many vocal critics now – WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE IDIOT OF ALL TIME WAS IN CHARGE!?!?!?

    October 2, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Tracy-Oakley

    Micheal Steele is a hack job. Why does he say anything; he's so embarrassing...

    Glad Obama went; can you imagine what the right-wing would be saying if he hadn't and Chicago didn't win.

    Good Job Mrs. Obama.

    October 2, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. indy

    he should be the 4th judge on american idol, he has reliable transportation and its only 1 hr cmon that would be awesome, plus I would like to see him a lil more on tv maybe his own variety show with oprah. We need more obama, hmm hmm hmm barack husien obama hmm hmm hmm ! I love that song

    October 2, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Brian B

    I find it amazing that the conservatives are ecstatic about the US not getting the Olympics. Their political gains come at the expense of making the President of the United States and this country look bad. I have never, in my life, witnessed a political party throw the President of the US under the bus as the conservatives are doing right now. I think the conservatives, under Bush, called this the "Blame America First" position. We are failing as a country, folks. Our presitge as a country cannot by determined by whether or not we argree or disagree with who is in the Oval Office. We have to promote ourselves in a unified front and that cannot happen if we rally around the fact that our President failed to lobby the IOC to bring the Olympics to the US. We are destroying ourselves with our petulant attitude towards politics.

    October 2, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. 8 years 4 sure

    Keep working hard Mr. President while your critics....;
    Have affairs, quit their jobs, sale books they didn't write, make way too many visitis to tanning booths, fake cry on their crazy show, spew hate through a radio mic while cameras are rolling so the world can see how silly he looks, throw parties inviting only weird guests and pretty much disagree with everything you do, all while loving their country!!!
    Through it all I admire the energy they seem to give you. The more distracting they hope to be, the more focused and determined you become. The sign of a great leader!!!

    October 2, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Cathy in Texas

    I'm sure it did not help Chicago's olympic bid to have an honor roll student killed in the street by a bunch of animals flashed all over the news for the last couple of weeks.

    October 2, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. jack

    Its about time that this president see's he cannot strong arm others to do what he wants, not with the olympic bid (which chicagoans didn't want according to polls), and not with health care reform (which the majority of Americans do not support). He is the most egotistical man ever elected president of this country because he doesn't seem to care . His pork bill, oh sorry, stimulus bill, just showed what a massiive failure it is with the sept jobs numbers. although he has refused to take responsibility for the economy (always blaming bush), it appears that it is finally time for him to take it on the chin. I would advise everyone to watch the 2010 election process and see how America responds to a president, house and senate that try to shove their own agenda down our throats, showing they no more represent us than the man in the moon. Real change is coming, and it's not obama!!

    October 2, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Expat American

    Bill October 2nd, 2009 3:44 pm ET
    I wonder how he'll figure a way to blame this on George Bush.
    It's a wonder how you came up with such an original and intelligent one-line zinger. I bet no one thought of that one at the dollar store, huh?

    Yeeeeeehah. strum strum.

    October 2, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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