(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."