September 28th, 2009
02:01 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama to make personal pitch for Olympics

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama is lobbying for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games to be held in Chicago."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will travel this week to Copenhagen, Denmark, to make a big push for the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Chicago, the White House said Monday.

Obama will join First Lady Michelle Obama and other administration officials in pitching Chicago to the International Olympic Committee on October 2, spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

No other U.S. president has ever attended an IOC meeting.

Chicago is vying for the Summer Games against Madrid, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Leaders from Brazil, Spain and Japan are expected to also make an in-person pitch.

The United States has hosted four Summer Olympic Games. In 1904, the Games were held in St. Louis, Missouri; in Los Angeles, California, in 1932 and 1984; and most recently Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996.

The International Olympic Committee will vote on the host city next month in Copenhagen.

In April, the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Chicago over Los Angeles as the U.S. bid city. Earlier, three other U.S. cities were in the running: Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, California.

The last U.S. city to host an Olympics was Salt Lake City, Utah, which was the venue for the 2002 Winter Games.

Obama held an event at the White House earlier this month to rally for Chicago as the host city.

"I may live in Washington these days, but I've called Chicago home for nearly 25 years," Obama said.

"It's a city of broad shoulders, big hearts, and bold dreams. A city of legendary sports figures, legendary sports venues and legendary sports fans.

"We want these Games!" Obama exclaimed, drawing applause.

While in Denmark, the president and first lady will meet with Queen Margrethe II and her husband, Prince Henrik, the White House said in a release. Obama also is scheduled meet with Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Obama will leave Thursday night and return Friday afternoon, the White House said.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. DJ

    It's the economy stupid...neo-nuts need to find something else to do besides trying to nit pick every little thing the President does.

    September 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. SlickWilly

    Wow! that is so great for Obama to take care of the american people like he does. He is so Awesome!!! I love this guy!! He really know how to prioritize doesn't he? I mean we really need to get the Olympics in Chicago, it would create so many Jobs for this guy's home state...I mean who cares if Iran has nukes that can hit Iseral, Who care that we need more Troops in Afgan and we could lose the war there, who cares that unemployment is extremly high and keeps climbing, who cares that his health care bill that he said need to be pass hasn't yet, who cares that we are in debt now more than ever...We Need the Olympics in Chicago and we need Obama to do it....what ever it takes! YES WE CAN!!!!
    How is that hope and change working out for you?

    September 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Gordo

    I'd like to volunteer to be the President's "'What Are You Thinking?' Czar."

    The President needs someone with political and social common sense to keep him from stepping unnecessarily into stupid issues like this. This is clearly not in his job title, and it could be better dealt with by sending an ambassador or merely a letter-of-support.

    I'm a big supporter of the President, but this has to make you wonder if Bidden's Disease is isn't contageous, or the President's aides aren't getting a bit too much time in the White House bubble.

    September 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. jayindenver

    Here's a news flash for all you whiners who say the President should focus on other things: He IS focusing on other things. This president actually has the ability to concentrate on more than one thing at a time, unlike his predecessor, who has the attention span of a goldfish.

    September 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Kara

    To those that say that Obama doesn't do anything and therefor shouldn't be going to Copenhagen...

    Obama has done a lot since being in office. Way more than Bush did in 8 years. He has been effective whether you like it or not. He is working on improving many things...many things that Bush either ruined or just let happen (economy, housing crisis, etc.).

    Obama can multi-task.

    September 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Cathleen

    This is so great! I hope it has a positive impact on the IOC's decision.

    In addition to the additional jobs created for CHicago the impact on tourism gives an olympic city a huge boost for many years following the games.

    the 1984 LA games made money...they had a $225 million surplus following the games, not sure about SLC, but think they did as well. A host city also gains new sporting venues which can translate into future revenues for the destination.

    Also, what's wrong with simple bragging rights and the honor of being a host city? Does everthing have to be about money.

    September 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. janelle

    If the stimulus doesn't work, go to plan B, get the Olympics here.

    September 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Chris - MN

    To the Chicago-bashers out there: Do you have any kind of clue what kind of crime/corruption problems there are in RIO?

    September 28, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Martin Guillot

    I'm sorry, I must have missed something. Is Obama still an Illinois state senator? This should be something Illinois and Chicago politicians should be doing. The president should focus his attention on the massive NATIONAL problems and leave local things to local politicions. Obama just thinks he has to stick his nose into everything. I can't wait till he's voted out in 2012.

    September 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. GOPunk

    George W. Bush will attend the Opening Ceremony of the Chicago Olympics only if:

    Media people are not Wearing Shoes 😛 Otherwise, Iraq shoe throwing might be repeated 🙂

    September 28, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Marie

    The notion that a sitting US president is unable to travel to Copenhagen to lobby while also handling our countries affairs is beyond me.

    Don't we want someone who is able to multi-task? I'm fairly certain we all do that everyday.

    September 28, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Travis

    Glad to hear that he's stepping up his effort to get the Olympics to the United States. The Games bring in billions of dollars in revenue that would certainly help our economy. Hope it's a successful lobbying effort.

    September 28, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. John from Massapeuqa NY

    The only Olympics held in the U.S. that ever made any money was the one in LA. All the others lost money and were subsidized as the tax payers.

    This is merely an attempt at payback for his Chicago cronies.

    He hasn't had time to finish the strategy for Afghanistan but he has time to travel to Copenhagen?

    Side Note: Let's see, he did not address Iran's nuclear weapons during his UN speech or the Security Council were he had the world watching, but he does it at the G20 only with the UK and France? That's because the know the UN is impotent and he/the US will do nothing to stop Iran.

    Between his foreign policy and destruction of the U.S. economy and turning it into a welfare state, Obama is fast out pacing Carter as the worst president ever.

    P.S. 1) He did lie in his speech to the American people regarding illegal aliens covered by the health care plan. All the committees worked over that weekend to insert language requiring U.S. citizenship would be verified. Now Scheumer and Rockefeller are working to reinsert coverage for illegals.

    P.S. 2) William Ayers was the ghost writer for his book but he doesn't know him. This man is a joke.

    Wake up America, this Statist is wrecking your country.

    September 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. dft

    Two minuets of research about China's olympics in 2008

    2,100,000 jobs
    3-5% growth in GDP
    improved infrastruction
    source of national pride
    additioanl 2% increase in economic growth

    "It is widely assumed that the Olympics Games have a broad economic impact and that the Games have an unequivocally positive effect on the host country and city. More and more cities are now coming forward as Olympic bidders.
    The macroeconomic impact of a summer Olympic Games is assumed to be over US$5 billion. The direct impact of investment and visitation is clear if short-term. The broader image benefits would be proven in the longer term: providing a platform for a nation’s corporations to excel and providing a showcase for a city region to attract inward investors." quote from LOCUM DESTINATION R E V I E W 3:2001 Olympic Economics

    September 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Whine Whine Whine

    For all the people complaining about this they not realize the economic gain to be had by the Country?
    Chicago will have to BUILD different sports arenas. This creates jobs. Hotels in chicago and surrounding cities will be filled. Taxis will be used, restaraunts will be full. Merchandise will be sold (more jobs created). Visitors won't just stay in Chicago. They will want to see America creating more revenue from tourists.
    It isn't forever. Just one summer. But it could help an ailing city off its feet.

    September 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Realistic

    I'm glad the president is trying to get the games to Chicago. The benefits will be surely felt in Chicago and it may just help the economy. But of course there will be those who will whine about what the president is doing because they believe he should be a prisoner in the WH.

    September 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. John Sullivan

    The comments here are really unbelievable. This President is going to make the case for the United States to host the Olympics. The last President was selling the world on going to war on trumped up charges. Yes GWB sure did work hard. He got it done for Big Oil. Threw American lives away for no reason at all. Turned the world against the U.S. But when Obama tries to do a positive all the low-brows can do is complain. I am starting to believe that Jimmy Carter is right. All this hate is racist. Get over it people. We elected the best man. There's another election coming. See what you can come up with then. Until then let the man do his job.

    September 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Dan, TX

    I would love to see the Olympics held in the US. I think we can all agree that America made the right choice in 2008 and Obama is clearly going to win again in 2012.

    The only division in the country is sewn by the 10% who hate republicans and democrats equally, plus the 10% who are republicans who will do whatever they can to bring down the democrats.

    September 28, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Joyce

    Like always, the people who are complaining don't know what they're talking about.
    Leaders of OTHER countries do get involved in trying to get the Olympics for their countries. The only first about this, is that it's first time an AMERICAN president has decided to make a pitch for it.This is a president who loves working hard, unlike the last one, who made the presidency a 9 to 5 job, with month long vacations, and weekends off. If Obama was as lazy as Bush was, they'd be complaining about how lazy this black president is.
    So no matter what the man does,they're going to complain about it.
    Meanwhile, the Democrats are LOAO at how crazed the Republicans are about him being everywhere, doing everything, all the time!
    It's like the campaign never ended.

    September 28, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Tim Worden

    I actually think this is a good idea. Obama is from Chicago, so naturally he has an interest in having his city host the Olympics, and that's fine if a president pitches his idea.

    September 28, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. John D.


    We need a positive image abroad and can use the international travel....especially in the mid-west.

    I wasn't a huge supporter of Obama at first, but have changed my opinion. He is pragmatic and can multi-task.

    This can create some jobs, but more than that, it is a HUGE honor to be chosen for the Olympics.

    If handled well (unlike Athens) the Olympics can bring money to a city/region. The US has a good reputation for planning the Olympics well.

    September 28, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. Chris

    Why on earth is our president screwing around with the IOC?

    Doesn't he have work to do?

    Chicago politics at its best ... payback, payback, payback for favors, favors, favors.

    Will someone please show this bum the door?

    September 28, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. John from Texas

    He still thinks he is a communoity organizer in Chicago!! There are a lot of more important things on the docket that should be attended to before trying to get an Olympics. Will he put in an appearance to help Chicago get a Super Bowl?!? This is not Presidential, it is trivial.

    September 28, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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