October 2nd, 2009
02:20 PM ET
5 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. Marshall

    I just want to know how much money we spent for his four hour trip. It is not just AF One and crew that travel with the president. There are many people and assests are sent many places when the president travels. I want to know is Chicago paying for this or am I?

    October 2, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Obviously the IOC is full of racist haters. Why else would they oppose the great and powerful Ozbama?

    October 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. DOC

    I believe there are better ways of helping the city of Chicago and the rest of this country besides getting the Olympic "games".

    Kinda hard for some people to celebrate "games" considering the horrible state Chicago and the US is in.

    October 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Norm

    At least Obama suited up, went to Denmark for a day, and played. Bush took yet another vacation, went to China, and set on the bench.

    October 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. shmeckel

    As someone that believes in republican theories and feels I am extremely misrepresented by the far right, what exactly can Obama do in his office that he would not be able to do on his plane? Why do we need to argue about insignificant issues?

    I don’t like Obama, and I don’t think it was a necessary trip; but at the same time thank you Obama I would have liked to see the Olympics in the USA it would have been nice to have an opportunity to attend one of the events. You did your best, but you can’t win em all. The mountain behind the Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro is the poorest in the world and hopefully they may prosper from this.

    October 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Lisa P

    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.

    So Mr. Steele, is that an offer to help? Maybe you could start by reminding some of your party members that it's about America succeeding, not making President Obama fail. How about some workable proposals and practical compromises instead of blank paper, hot air and lies?

    October 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Wake Up

    Obama is baffled that he can't just tell everyone what to do with his beautifully spoken garbage and lies.

    As a chicagoan...thank god it's not here. The corruption and dem machine is killing us...and has killed 97 public school kids.

    October 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    " 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"

    Dude...we already showed everyone what we think of a POTUS, House and Senate that try to shove a despicable agenda down everyone's throats...did you miss November 4, 2008? I'm sure you can find some of it on youtube if you can't wait to find out if your 2010 fairytale is going to come true so you can see what it's like.

    October 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. eolufemi

    The lack of patriotism is appalling. Since when do real Americans turn their noses up at showing the world what's great about our country. You people disgust me.

    October 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. John MacKercher

    I find the meeting with Gen McChrystal and the President of special interest. Was it pre-planned or coincidental? When was the invitation extended and accepted to and by the Gen from the Brits' organization? Our president was taking some heat for leaving his workload back in D. C. for the Copenhagen visit as well as involving two air force a/c to convey him, his wife and Oprah. He was also taking heat when the public learned he'd spoken once in the last two months to our Commander in Afghanistan. I sincerely hope it was pre-planned and not a pr ploy to kill two accusations with but a single stroke.

    October 2, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. inofritzn

    No big deal, except Obama himself said earlier he did not want to make the trip with the health care debate going on, but I guess that changed and Gibbs is wrong. It's stated in the CNN story.

    October 2, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Newsflash, charm alone is not going to get it done."

    Thank you for regurgitating what Newtered Gingrich put on Twitter.

    October 2, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Joe

    wonder who will be first to cry "racism"?

    October 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Ana

    This has nothing to do with Obama...lets face it...Chicago had no chance!!!

    October 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Fan of Common Sense

    Well, I'm NOT glad he went. I can't help but think that if the Obamas and Oprah had not gone and displayed their obvious arrogance, the IOC may have just gone with Chicago. If I had been an IOC member, I certainly would have been turned off by a media tycoon and a head-of-state jetting into town at the last minute and trying to tell me how I should vote. I'm afraid the Obamas (and Oprah) actually believe the media's exaggerated perception of their popularity. The O-trio probably LOST the olympics for us. But oh well, now Obama can tend to less important things–like Afghanistan, the coming economic collapse, ect. ect.

    October 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. michelle

    Jesus Christ will you people SHUT UP!!! Did you complain this much when Bush Sr bid for the Atlanta Olympics in 1990??

    October 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. inofritzn

    Funny how you blame/insult repubs for this international vote. Won't say anything about that, just spew insults at those who don't think the trip was worth it. I did, it was worth a shot

    October 2, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. dem all the way!!!

    you wanna know what i'm gonna do when a repub president takes office again (if that ever happens again)...I'm gonna hope he fails at everything too and then we will really see this country go down the craper because this will turn into a snowball effect. Fine don't support my president Repubs and I sure as heck won't support yours and will hope they fail as well!!!! Wow this country will never be as strong as it once was and it's not the leaders cause theres nothing they can do know, it's the people being really ignorant and stupid... Yea america way to implode you jokes

    October 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. AUSTIN,TX

    all of you Prez Obama haters, get over yourself..you can continue to criticize all you want, put he's still POTUS

    October 2, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Ryan

    President Obama at LEAST made an effort to go after this issue. And YES it WAS an issue because of all the jobs and income that we could have benefitted from by being chosen as host in Chicago.

    Anyone criticizing Obama is an idiot – do you have ANY idea how much money the Olympics nets in the years after they leave!?!?

    All the visitors paying taxes on food & keepsakes equates to millions, the construction & tech and Security jobs in the billions, the image repair that America so desperately needs on an international scale... I mean, seriously? This is a pretty terrible loss so I applaud Obama for trying. Bush never would have... McCain would have never cared to try...

    October 2, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. inofritzn

    And PLEAE stop bringing up the lame argument, well Bush was worse. Do you really want to lower the bar that much? Most of us know Bush wasn't the best president, but that doesn't give Obama a free pass. Take off the Bush rage blindfolds.

    October 2, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. Marilyn

    He may be "glad" to fly anywhere and talk to anyone, but American taxpayers are certainly not glad to pay for his entourage and his secret service agents when he makes these trips. He needs to stay home and do his job!! That is, assuming he even knows how to do his job. I'm beginning to doubt it.

    October 2, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. An Ex-NC-Pub

    Only a RUSH-Beck-Publican would think bringing the olympics to America would be a bad idea. When you major in lies, cynicism, drugs and wild accusations what else can you expect!

    October 2, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Rewhinagin

    Thanks for the ol coleege try Oman and Chicago! Buck up haters, you're a bad example. It's a sporting event and congrats to Rio. Clearly the IOC wanted them to get it since SA never had one. They took out Chicago early so it wasn't a 2 horse race which would have gone down bad for Rio ... Back to regularly scheduled programming.
    But I do have to ask Republicans, is he too much or not enough? Make up you small minds. I know you are accustomed to presidents who can't eat a pretzel and breathe at the same time.

    October 2, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. victim of republican greed

    If Bush or Cheney went to Copenhagen, they would have been arrested for war crimes.

    October 2, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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