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. David

    Does the GOP have anything positive to say or suggest? You complain about everything, you ran this country into the ground the last 8 years, give it break, we are sick of it.

    September 29, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. Jay T.

    I've always felt the problem with the Right is they are unable to express their discontent creatively through art. Instead, they end up looking and acting like grumpy cavemen. They need to find a few good musicians or painters that actually know what is going on in the world. And, no, Toby Keith doesn't count.

    September 29, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. If the insurance companies win, YOU LOSE

    Sorry to be rude, but no one cares what Steele thinks.


    during a time of war that Bush started though he shouldn't have,

    and during a time of recession that Bush's crappy policies – particularly all the deregulation and other 'benefits' to the financial sector – greatly helped to create,


    September 29, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. Marge

    Mr Steele you really are not the voice of the Republican party.. save your breath and comments .. Get a real job you can be proud of.

    September 29, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Robbie Nelson

    True American should ask Steele (Steal) and the rest of his party of ignorance to stop breating the rest of our good air whats left of it.

    September 29, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Liz in Texas

    What contributions have Republicans made the past 8 months except to criticize President Obama? They keep talking about President Obama doesn't have time to do this or that but it's obvious that it is the Republican politicians who don't have time to do anything constructive because it would interfere with their being on TV 24/7 making wild accusations and constantly criticizing the President. It's pathetic!

    September 29, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. chris

    He's 100% right... new US jobs for 7+ years and billions into the US economy is something the POTUS shouldn't fight for! Especially if it only takes 1 day of his time. Fighting an inherited dumb war is WAY more important.

    September 29, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Concerned Democrat

    Why doesn't he shut up! Think about it..... It will bring money to that city. Businesses will thrive and this will create jobs. Remember, the repubs are complaining that the President is not doing anything about creating jobs. I'm still having a hard time trying to figure out why these repubs complain about everything the President does.

    September 29, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Mike, Albany

    All the republicans have been doing since the day that Obama took office is stir up hatred against him. Is it any wonder that a Facebook poll surfaced asking if Obama should be killed? It's time for this nonsense to stop. Let Obama do his job. If you don't like it, then come 2011, there will be plenty of time for republicans to point out his failings and put their best candidate forward.

    Republicans are so transparent, it's laughable. They're hopping mad. They're mad that their party leaders left office in disgrace last January. They're mad that their best candidates for President and Vice-President were such jokes, especially the latter. They're mad that they have lost power because of lousy performance while in control. They're mad that Obama is so popular, both at home and abroad, while GW was the butt of endless jokes. To all republicans out there I say this: Respect is not conferred, it is earned. You have yet to earn it, so don't be mad that you have not been granted it implicitly just for being who you are.

    September 29, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. T'SAH from Virginia

    This man is trying to STEELE the SHOW!!! He's mad because he is not the first African American President!!! He'll never get there because he is in the WRONG party that is USING him in the forefront and TELLING what to say!!!


    September 29, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Peter

    More reasons not to listen to this guy!

    September 29, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Peter

    Michael Steele, is Rush Limbaughs, door mat ! no one should take him seriously. He is better of seeking hair implant on his head which now looks like Heathrow Airport. I bet he looses brain cells everytime he steps on the sun. Olympic will benefit this economy than anything else.

    September 29, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. The Court Jester

    Hmmm, do you think Denmark will keep him? I suppose he has to go there to pay back his Chicago crook buddies. Hopefully he can make it a day trip and get back here to do at least some of his job. He's woefully behind.

    September 29, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Steve, New York City

    Hey – Michael Steele – I've got a hard one for you. What is 2 + 2?

    September 29, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. KM

    It is called multi-tasking, it is something that most people are required to do at their jobs and still perform their basic assigned duties. Republicans, do you think that the world will end if the President takes a "DAY" trip to Denmark?

    Grow up and stop complaining about everything. If he didn't go you would say he doesn't care about the United States.

    September 29, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. Andi

    I think Michael Steele's opinions are 'not necessary'. I don't think the Olympics in Chicago is a good idea, but I am only one person with an opinion. What is Steele's job description? Does he actually do any work? What has the GOP done for the country and their constituents in the past 8 months? Just wondering. Why are they so focused on the next Presidential election? Aren't there more important things to worry about right now? Oh, I see, not for them.

    September 29, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. Victim of Democrats acting "stupidly"

    Sorry Obamabots who know absolutely nothing about any given subject (Sniffit for instance), the majority of Chicago folks DON'T WANT THIS and it is not guaranteed to be a money maker, THERE HAVE BEEN MANY THAT LOST MONEY.

    How about the fraud in chief instead send "shelly" so she can FINALLY be proud of her country and he can oh, I don't know, maybe DROP IN ON GENERAL McCrystal and see how things are going in, um, um, um, Afghanistan?

    The General who he has NEVER MET and talked to once in over two months, even though he is fighting "the right war", correct "Sniffit"?

    Lameduck before year two, and Steele forgot more than he knows. .

    September 29, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. Tex

    This guy still manages to crack me up, time after time.

    Yo Steele, 'yer boy Romney, the best chance you have at a 2012 GOP presidency thinks it's a good idea. Ya know why? Because he has experience doing such a thing. He's not some moron talking about things he doesn't understand.

    September 29, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Roger in CA

    Are you KIDDING?? A one-day trip to Copenhagen is not going to distract him from his important political battles. It is completely appropriate for a US President to weigh in on a finalist pitch by an American city for the Olympics.

    Man, the GOP tantrum machine just goes nonstop and gloms on to anything possible.

    September 29, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. PK California

    Your opinion. Of course, you're a Republican!

    September 29, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    Michael Steele said, "I think the first lady would have been and should have been the lead here, and let her go and sell Chicago," If a thought hit Michael Steele in the face he would not even realize it.

    First the President is not doing enough, then he is doing to much. Then he can't run the country from there during the 5 or 6 hours he will be there. Republicans, do you not realize that there are phone booths on every street corner that he can either use to call back here to find out what's going on or he can use to change into his Super Dude outfit.

    Michale Steele, needs to shut up and get a life. He is jealous that the best he can do is to head the party of "NO" and he is angry that he has to answer to "The Drugster" for his actions and get them approved before he takes an action. Get over it Steele.

    September 29, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. Farrell in Houston

    America is the safest place in the World for the olympic athletes, it's about security, you nut. Steele and his GOP buddies need to learn when to speak and when to shut up. This is just another example of how what a smart thinking man President Obama is compared to Steele and his buddies. Republicans will never be ready to lead, they defeat themselves.

    September 29, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Keith in CA

    Does Mr. Steele realize we live in the 21st century? It really is possible for the President to govern while being away from the White House for a day or two. As for being an "unnecessary distraction", was it necessary for President Bush to sit in a classroom for seven minutes while our country was being attacked? Was it necessary for President Bush to clear brush at his Crawford ranch while New Orleans drowned? The Olympics in Chicago will bring much needed jobs and revenue to the region not just in 2016, but in the years preparing for the event.
    And let's get real here, if President Obama does not represent the U.S. in Denmark and the games are awarded to another country, Mr. Steele and the Republicans will be all over the President for not doing enough.

    September 29, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. John in WV

    Steele is not concerned about jobs, war, recession, health care, etc; His main concern is to get Obama out of the White House whatever it takes.

    September 29, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Joyce

    Jobs would start NOW! Planning would start immediately with construction starting soon after. Mr. Steele either needs to check his facts better or sit down! I don't know who appointed Mr. Steele the moral conscience of America, but he sure stinks at the job!

    September 29, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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