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. G in BR

    To all of the hate mongers:

    Whether you choose to believe this or not, there is a time of sowing and a time to reap.

    October 2, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Independent

    Wow! Can't believe how all the libs want to blame Bush for Obama's failed attempt to get the Olympics. Talk about not being able to take responsibility for yourself. Pathetic! Obama's didn't get it, everyone with a brain and sense knew it was going to Rio. Obama's ego trip just cost us "taxpayers" alot of money. He couldn't handle not going because other world leaders went. Whatever! Talk about thinking only of yourself and not the rest of the Country who has bigger issues than spending money to get something we all knew we weren't going to get. Get over yourself and start thinking of the Country.

    October 2, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Sniffit

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

    Now, just in case you have even slight math skills, factor into that superb analysis of yours that 1% of the country has 95% of the wealth.

    October 2, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "It's true………a few of you really are blaming Bush, Sniffit"

    Actually, that would be you and the other paid GOP bloggers in the basement who come here and post as "Sniffit" to put words in my mouth and then post something criticizing it. I've been here for months and months and I've angered alot of you neocon morons, but seriously, I would have thought the childish mimicry would be beneath even you. If nothing else, by doing it yo just prove I'm scoring points and scaring you.

    October 2, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Idiot_Pelosi

    What? The members of the IOC weren't dazzled by "BO BO THE CLOWNS" tele-prompter speeches?

    OBAMA needed a little humble pie and a big dose of REAILTY.

    Meantime back in the USA:
    (A) Still no plan for Afganistan
    (B) Unemployment UP
    (C) DEFICIT increasing
    (D) Market Dropping

    Way to go OBUMMER.

    October 2, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Mickey, New York

    Dont blame me said on October 2nd, 2009 3:50 pm ET

    [Of course he is, he went on the TAXPAYER dime.

    Chicago never stood a chance anyway.

    I mean, would you rather go to crime riddled Chicago or to Rio ???

    Be honest now.]

    I see you still have your head up your rectum: Rio is FAR more crime-ridden than Chi Town could ever aspire to be.

    October 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Coherent1

    I'm glad the president takes the effort to bring in what's needed for our country. "There will be win's and some losses, but we must keep plugging at it if we want real change. It's gonna take all of us." Now, go see Capitalism: A Love Story, maybe some of you will have a new mindset when you return. Hopefully you'll be ready to roll up your sleeves.

    October 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Wise Latina

    Doll it up any way you like, it was a major league Oprah, Obama, O'Fail.

    October 2, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. John

    This Proves –——— The World does not like America.

    IOC Members Voted – We did not get enough votes. It was not politics, but a fair secret ballot voting. Let us accept defeat in true Sportsmanship.

    BUSH and GOP have Ruined America's Reputation and Made more Enemies than Friends.

    CHICAGO lost because of the failed foreign policies of the past 8 years.

    Go OBAMA Go – Please Rebuild our Lost Reputation, which has been Ruined by Bush and GOP. :|

    October 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Mike Syracuse, NY

    As an official Omama 'hater' I would like to have seen the Olympics come to the US again. Obama’s failure (yes, he tried AND failed) is just symptomatic of the other issues he's failing to show any real ability to effectively address. It has become more and more apparent that from military strategy, to foreign affairs, to health care, to the economy; Obama is just plain over his head. His lack of experience was pointed out by many during the campaign, but between the anti-Bush crowd (who would have voted for any Democrat with a pulse, and proved it), the monolithic black vote (sure race wasn’t a factor, yeah right), and the liberal dominated Democrats, this was ignored. Well, now he actually has to govern, and the guy who never even ran a lemonade stand has to run the world's only superpower. Failure was predictable by those of us who actually voted based on qualifications rather than 'just words'. We tried to warn you, and you didn't listen. Now for the next 3+ years we can only hope the damage done by this amateur is contained. Do I want America to fail? Hell no! The only way to prevent that is if Obama fails in his destructive policies. Although Obama would like you to think that America=Obama, and his success is our success, that’s just not true.

    October 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. beevee

    I think we should forget this thing ASAP and move on to the more important things that concern this nation. it is disappointing but we dno't have much say in international politics. So move on.

    October 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. Mickey, New York

    So what if he went on the taxpayers' dime... why let the chance of 7 years of NEW JOBS building the venues leading up to the Olympics, not counting the THOUSANDS of people the games themselves could employ, not counting the existing hotels, merchants, etc...

    REPUBLICANS NEVER THINK OF THE OBVIOUS. Grayson is right...nothing but knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, all of you. YOu serve NO USEFUL PURPOSE.

    October 2, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. john

    Rasmussen polls now show 51% disapprove of obama

    where are his results on creating jobs?
    where are his results in formulating a strategy in the middle east?
    where are his results in delivering healthcare?
    where are his results in balancing the budget?

    the list goes on and people are starting to figure Obama is a left wing liberal with left wing idealogical agenda.....................................

    October 2, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. WrongKindofChange

    Lets be honest, this loss hurts Obama and his Chicago friends, worse then it hurts the American people. They were going to make millions from real estate and backdoor deals if the olympics came to Chicago. Now they get nothing.

    If you people think obama went there to persuade IOC to pick Chicago because he was being American, you are sadly mistaken. He went to pad hiw own pockets and the pockets of all his friends. Check into the facts.

    October 2, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. JES

    Next time you go on a tax payer trip can I go too that way I can see the world trips that I am paying for.

    Thanks for wasting more of my tax dollars.

    October 2, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Independant Vet

    This was the next best thing to come about. Not only it will save some ones life. Plus a big bundle of bucks , that we do not have , now if he can learn something out of this . Start cleaning up his plate that is over run .

    Looks as if he has got the Flying , bug , every 24 hrs he is flying around . an around , like a casturated dog from Chicago. Uhhh Huhhhh

    October 2, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. Ricardo

    No wonder American kids and young ppl are being outdone by those from other countries; even in the third world. One of the brightest minds in the world makes a pitch for something as prestigious as the Olympics and he is called a "loser" because he was not successful, may be the USA is not as competitive on the world scene because the youngsters are afraid to fail and be labeled losers. And I'm not just talking about sporting disciplines.

    October 2, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. MaryanneAZ

    On the one hand, we have Pres. Obama's one day pitch for an important potential economic boon for one of our own Cities. On the other hand, we had Pres. Bush43 traveling to and attending the Olympic games for FOUR DAYS with no posturing, whining and hand-wringing by the GOP. Hmm... Seems a tad hypocritical to me. BTW, we were in the same pit when Dubya went to the games with two wars, failing economy, etc. etc. But that was somehow not the same? Get real. This is faux outrage from the Party of No. President Obama is the President until 2012 and the GOP just needs to accept that fact.

    October 2, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. Rosey from Washington

    I'm glad you went Mr. President. That showed great support for our country and our athletes.

    Don't worry what the critics say, they would have criticized you if you hadn't gone.

    October 2, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. Margaret in NC

    I love my president! Kudos to Obama and hubby for trying.

    October 2, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. PeeWee

    I'm absolutely glad he went also, because his visit sealed the defeat to Rio! Of course, he'll never admit it.

    October 2, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  22. a View from Soutth America

    You guys ( left & right) stop bashing each other like school children...both sides are doing exactly what every countries do...throw "staff" at each other at all time..nothing new..don't get stuck there...live ..life is to short

    U.S. lost because it was time a South America country had the chance...in the mind of the representativeswho voted was sort of a romantic/wild idea to have such event in Copacabana

    It was not because of Obama or hatred to U.S....not politics envolve here

    Grow up!!

    October 2, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  23. phoenix86

    Of course Obama's glad. He loves the travel. Bet he thinks he's earning Frequent Flier Miles.

    October 2, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. TH - ATL

    Obama is not well liked or respected in other countries. Shoot, he's not well liked in this country any more. Democrats disrepected Bush during his time in office. I don't like the BS Obama is trying so why shouldn't he betreated the same way.

    October 2, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  25. Jean 2

    CNN MSNBC insisted that polls showed that the citizens of Chicago were divided about the games. FOX rejoiced. Reporter’s politicians and commentators questioned the involvement of the president over and over again. Crimes on the streets of Chicgo were played over and over without solutions.

    In the effort to report we have painted an undesirable picture of Chicago. The beauty of Chicago was not talked about.
    I truly believe that the media in it's effort to be the best has once again set the stage for defeat. Our influence and the effectiveness in all things can be destroyed from within our own systems.
    Given these reporting’s, who would want to vote in favor of such a place?
    Instead of reflecting and searching for truth and responsibility the president is attached once again.

    Who will stand up for plain ole fair play and respect.

    I love this county and I believe in what is possible in the USA. For me this realization is extremely sad.

    October 2, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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