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. Laura, Boston MA

    I want to hear Keith Olberman and Chris Matthew's viewpoint on this matter. I am sure each will blame the prior administration and Olberman will make the IOC and people of Rio the "worst persons in the world". LOL

    I would also like to hear how CNN (other than Wolfe and Lou Dobbs who seem to be unbiased) will present this as well as the increase in the unemployment rate!

    October 2, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. TangledThorns

    Obama is horrible salesman, can't even sell America for the Olympics. Vote this guy and the rest of the bums out in 2012!!

    October 2, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. sagin

    For heaven's sake, give a break to the good president! the measure of one's love for one's country, among many other things, is fighting to bring REAL investment to one's country. Of all the republicans goons out there, Michael steele has the audacity to avdvise/admonish Mr. Obama? I have news for you Mikey: just focus on appeasing buffoons like Glen Beck and Limbaugh as you don't measure up to the height of the intellectual Obama! LOL!

    October 2, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Randolph Carter, the real enemy of humanity

    Funny how the republicans have never cared about "the beating death of a young black male" until now. Why the sudden change of heart? have a nice day!

    October 2, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. shmeckel

    @victim of republican greed

    OK, thats funny. i dont agree, but thats funny

    October 2, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Tariq

    I like how all Republicans and the right wing media had nothing better to do than to complain about how Obama has better things to do than pitch for Chicago 2012 olympics.

    I thought drafting health care bill was in Congress hand. What did Republicans in congress so desperately need Obama for all of a sudden? Oh right, with Obama not around they have nothing to obstruct and yell "you lie" at.

    October 2, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Worley Leminster

    This was just another speechifying event for Obama so, as he thought, the world could worship him on TV some more.

    October 2, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Expat American

    If Chicago had been granted the Olympics, the dollar store moonshine patriots would find something else to be up in arms about. Yawn Snore zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Brazil is a beautiful place. I look forward to being in Rio again; this time to cheer on our athletes! Let’s go Team USA!

    October 2, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. g canada

    after watching USA news andradio talk show , i can see why RIOgot the games to much hate in the USA

    October 2, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. David

    It was known that South America has never hosted an Olympics and the US has been a repeat host, obviously Reo had the advantage. At the same time with the postive boost in moral and revenue that this would have offered the US, of course it is worth the effort of trying to win the games.

    October 2, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Karl

    Thank you, Mr. President for taking the time to represent this country in a positive light. Although we lost, I do not equate this lost to you. I equate it with the vitriol and non-support the conservatives exhibit toward their own citizens and the government. Eff all the right and conserves that simply became part of the OPPOSITION PARTY only and not a viable part of the solution. Shameful. Thank you, Mr. President.

    October 2, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. Irma in North Caroliina

    I see that the C4P gang is on her shouting there mouth, go back to your own site and stay there.

    October 2, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. J of K

    @ Randolph Carter, the real enemy of humanity
    it is really sad that the only thing you got out of the comment was to belie Republicans – which I am not.

    October 2, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. snood

    comments like this show just how stupid the so scalled smart obama voters are,

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

    Obama is the first President to help bid for the olylmpics. just admit it your guy didnt have what it took and played it just like everything else he does thinking its a sure thing and coming back empty handed

    October 2, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Albo58

    The libs need to stop spinning this and look at the facts. First of all, had any other American city been in the competition, then the President would NOT have made this trip, nor would have the 1st lady "sacrificed" her time. This was a Chicago payback scheme, plain and simple. Who's company got paid $millions to campaign on behalf of the city? Why that was Davis Axelrod's company. Furthermore, can you imagine the size of "bonuses" the unions, political goons, and all the other Chicago parasites would have collected? Don't fool yourselves, this was NOT an example of support of country, but rather, support for a corrupt city!

    October 2, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Randolph Carter, the real enemy of humanity

    "50% of america pays 97% of taxes!! how is that fair!!!!"

    Because the other 50% don't have any money. It all disappeared in the great republican wealth redistribution known as deregulation and trickle-down economics. Have a nice day!

    October 2, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Debby

    Well of course he is happy he went. He got a free ride by us the taxpayers.

    October 2, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Peter

    If Obama never went to Copehegan they could have said how unpatriotic he is. I am glad he went no matter the outcome...

    October 2, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Todd

    I wonder if Obama is starting to realize that all his charm and star power and great oratory don't really do much more than raise money. It doesn't get things done. It doesn't really change a lot of minds. I don't think this was worth his time, and there really was no upside to it – had we landed the Olymplics, sure he would have gotten credit, but so what really? How much negative backlash versus the "US always gets everything" would there have been? And in not getting it, he continues a recent losing streak, diminishes his credibility, and opens himself up to criticisim of trying to do too much and thinking he can do anything.

    I suppose Carter will be on TV tomorrow calling the IOC racist. The laugh I get out of that will be worth my disdain at this waste of time.

    October 2, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. John from LA

    To all the Bots on this posting page-What the heck does the Rep. party or the Dem party have to do with this?????-wow liberals are REALLY reaching here.

    The Pres. has NO business poking his nose into the Olympic business.

    October 2, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Alan in Marietta, GA

    The growing hatred in the country is shameful. Bush was a one- trick pony: war. He vacationed while New Orleans was drowning. He vacationed during two wars. He vacationed while war broke out between Russia and Georgia. Obama tries to help Chicago, which by the way, is still a city in America. The Republican disdain for Obama is really scary. His failure is their only goal. Failure at any and everything he does. I just hope that Democrats, independents and even the honest republicans remember this behavior come 2010 and 2012.

    October 2, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. victim of republican greed

    Since the republicans have no ideas, I would think that is an indication of constipation of the brain.

    October 2, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Barbara - a Canadian Perspective

    To all of those rejoicing in the lost bid for the Olympics... HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FREAKING MINDS!!!! Your President represented your country abroad... and represented you well!!! Do you not think that people world-wide have been watching the disrespect that you show the head of your own country???? How do you think that translates across the globe? IF YOUR COUNTRY FAILS.... YOU DID IT TO YOURSELVES!!!

    October 2, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. katy

    "Will go anywhere and talk to anyone about this country?" How about an interview on FOX???? All other Presidents went on networks and shows where there would be hard ??? Why not this one. Also how about ending all speeches with a short QnA session, with journalists picked at random, instead of the deliver the line then leave.

    October 2, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Tim

    He saved or created one new olympics for Chicago.

    October 2, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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