September 29th, 2009
12:18 PM ET
13 years ago

Steele says Obama's Olympic trip 'not necessary.'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is sharply criticizing President Obama's planned trip to Denmark."]

(CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is sharply criticizing President Obama's planned trip to Denmark to promote Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics, characterizing the 24-hour trek as an unnecessary distraction.

"I think at a time of war, I think at a time of recession, at time where Americans have expressed rather significantly their concerns and frustrations over the course of the spring and summer …this trip, while nice, is not necessary for the president," Steele said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Steele is the latest Republican to take aim at Obama's decision to accompany his wife Thursday night to the International Olympic Committee meeting in Copenhagen where representatives from the four finalist cities will make pitches ahead of the IOC vote in a few weeks. It is the first time a U.S. president has attended an IOC meeting.

"I think the first lady would have been and should have been the lead here, and let her go and sell Chicago," Steele also said. "The goal should be creating not job opportunities seven years from now, but job opportunities today."

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, and Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, both leveled similar criticisms at the president Monday.

Obama will leave Thursday night, attend meetings on Friday morning, and return Friday afternoon, the White House said. First lady Michelle Obama will leave ahead of her husband, on Tuesday night. 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 in-person pitches.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended the trip Monday as a potential economic boon for the U.S. economy.

"Obviously any Olympics showcases the country that those Olympics are in and there's a tangible economic benefit to those games being here," he said. "And the president wants to help out America's bid."

Filed under: Michael Steele • Olympics • President Obama
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Kornelia

    the constant criticism, sad sad, but obviously a lot of people have a lot of time and nothing creative to do??? Though I canot understand Obama's trip to Denmark and would not necessarily agree with it, I need to trust him to do the right thing. However, it seems to be very very hard for Republicans to live in a democracy. Their understanding seems to be that they can be only happy if they run the country, or ruin the country. It is unfeasable for them that the other party has the power for a change. They should relax and work together. Constant nagging, just like unhappy, frustrated people who have finally noticed that their lives are running out of time. Sad Sad

    September 29, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Brennan

    Steele, shut up! If anything it will bring many people to the area and produce jobs and bring money to our economy! At least he is trying!

    September 29, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Thomas

    CNN, I need to change my post on the other thread on this same topic,

    If Steele is against it, it must have been a good idea after all. My bad.

    September 29, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |


    When was the last time we had any prestigious event held in our Country?. I think it will be for the good of our country and for Chicago.. People come, People spent money, businesses make money and get a boost.. Whats wrong with that?

    I say if we gotta spot of getting the 2016 Olympics.. GO FOR IT MR. PRESIDENT.

    September 29, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |

    Obama has too much on his plate as he said before, stay in Washington and find a solution to create jobs in the private sector, and not in govt.

    September 29, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. alb

    He will be gone for 24 hours, drumming up support for jobs and the economy. I also think the president is capable of multi-tasking and has state-of-the-art communications technology. We do not live in the 19th century, so Obama does not need to sleep in the telegraph office, as Lincoln sometimes did during the Civil War. LMJ is right. If he had not gone, the Reps. would have criticized Obama for ignoring the U.S. economy. Until the Republicans actually provide real solutions, I suggest we stop wasting so much airtime on them.

    September 29, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Jay

    Steele this President is doing more than sleeping in the White House and using the bathroom. Yes he is mobile and want this country to get some of the money that all the other countries get for just saying Yes we will. Go for it Obama. You are the right person to go all out for this country and the GOP should be supporting your efforts to travel and still stay focus on America. What such a waste of the GOP party that can't chew gum and walk at the same time.

    September 29, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. angel

    I don't get it or I don't understanding or President Obama is within a sort kind of buble.
    First he takes down our defense and then he turns around and go to Europe to ask for more trouble?
    Is he kidding me? Does he knows how much burden will be placed on our national security by bringing the Games here? to the USA? to Chicago?
    God has mercy on us.

    September 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Debby

    Steele is right Obama has more pressing issues. What happened to the big healthcare push all of a sudden we never read about it anymore. I agree the wife can handle the job without hubby taking yet another family vacation.

    September 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Ken, AZ

    Please don't tell the republicans that President Obama brushed his teeth this morning. I'd hate to hear how they'd tear into that. Just maybe, getting the olympic bid would help boost the economy, which is what the GOP talks about but can't seem to bring themselves to help do anything about. Steele and the rest of you, crawl back under your rock.

    September 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. ED

    Mr. Steele is a stooge of the party trying to put on an inclusive face. When he ran for Lt Gov. in MD, he was unemployeed and had to use campaign funds to live off of.
    He has foot in mouth syndrome , since taking this job.
    Mike needs to keep his focus on who he really is and where he comes from.

    September 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Harold

    it seems to me folks think the presidency is like a mom and pop operation; do you think Obama is the one directing the wars, fighting terrorism, locating missile site in Iran, etc. No dummies, it the govenment the very same govenment which is to big; one person does not run the government, the president makes decisions; guess the dummies think the president needs to be sitting inside the White House to make decisions; give me a break, stupid people with computers are scary;

    September 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their foolishness.

    You got it. What's more important than winning the war against terriosm, the economy and the tremendous debt that Bush and Obama are running up. He wants to go to bring the Olympics to Chicago. WHY? What the hades does Chicago have that other big cities don't in the United States other than tremendous gang violence. This just goes to show OBAMA is only interested in one people and the muslims. Our government should not have the time to go lolly gagging off to sporting events while our tax dollars are running amok. THE COST OF THIS THREE DAY TRIP WILL BE TREMENDOUS WHILE HIM AND BIG -HIPPED MICHELE HAVE A FINE TIME.

    September 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. Keith

    Steele needs to stay in the house and be quiet.

    September 29, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Peter

    Wait, didn't President Bush go to Beijing to hang out with the Olympic athletes during the Summer Games last year while the economy crumbled around him? Where was Michael Steele and the GOP criticizing the then-President?

    Sound of crickets chirping....

    September 29, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Yeah, because the country doesn't need the millions and millions of dollars that the Olympic games generate for the host country.

    September 29, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Go Obama. People should be happy to have the 2016 Olympics come to America

    September 29, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Tony

    Funny, but I don't remember the RNC criticizing W when he took all those vacations to Crawford. The Republican Party is officially a joke – would the last person to leave please turn out the lights on the way out.

    September 29, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Dar

    I think it is fine for a president to assist in trying to get the olympics here in the USA but this is bad timming for him. We have more problems that he must address here and now. He can go to meet the Olympic committee but not the General that needs more troops?????? I guess he can get kool aid in Denmark but not Afganistan.
    God Bless All

    September 29, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Artrina

    Keep talking Steele! This registered Independent finds it ironic that Obama felt it necessary to do a speech in front of a joint session of Congress earlier this month to get support for the health care bill and he's indecisive about sending more troops to Afghanistan to finish the war to get the person who masterminded 9/11 and NOW he feels it's more important to travel out of the country to try to get Olympic Games that this country cannot afford to host!

    September 29, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. hayden zeke

    Chicago has no chance after the gang violence publicity, unless they make whuppin yo head wif a railroad tie an Olympic sport..

    September 29, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    It is necessary. Our President has to meet with world leaers to bring the Olympics to America. It would be a great honor... Not to mention that his buddies the Milikans business has the option on the land the Chicago Olympic games will be built on. They stand to make Million$ if Chicago gets the Olympics. Its never far from the money!

    September 29, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. Dennis

    I guess it says something about Obama's priorities. Got to take care of his Chicago cronies. Can't help but wonder if he personally benefits if the Olympics go to Chicago. What happens to Obama's world standing when the IOC picks another city?

    September 29, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. shawn

    So do not be surprised when he stops off in Iraq or Afganistan on his way back to the US. If he does that what will the critics say then????

    September 29, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Jerry

    Talk about "carbon footprints." These politician clowns waste more fuel and dollars on worthless running around the world. They think they are royalty!

    September 29, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12