Obama Olympics Ouch!

October 2, 2009

So. What happened?

President Barack Obama dashed overnight to Copenhagen, waved the flag, praised everyone in sight, and came home with Nothing, Nada, Naught, Zero, Zip, Zilch (couldn’t find the Danish word or would have thrown that in too).

OLYMPICS-VOTE/CHICAGOThe Olympics Oracle, after much fumbling with the envelope, read the winner and Rio de Janeiro scooped up the 2016 Summer Games.

Chicago — the hometown for Obama, his wife, and close advisers like David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel — was left out in the cold, not even making it to the T2 (Top Two).

Was it the unbridled enthusiasm in Rio for bringing home the Olympics, compared with the protesters from Chicago who didn’t want the games anywhere near their town?

“I think that the city of Chicago would have welcomed having the Olympics in 2016,” said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, also a native of Chicago. “I don’t think this necessarily demonstrates that Chicago is not a welcoming place.” OLYMPICS-2016/RIO-BEACH

Was it the warmer welcome from Brazil to international travelers, compared with the post-9/11 U.S. security consciousness?

“We recognize that we need to do more to make it easier for legitimate visa applicants to make it to the U.S. We understand we have an image problem about that process,” Kelly said.

Was it that the IOC liked the sound of  Duran Duran’s “Rio” and Tom Jobim’s “The Girl From Ipanema” rather than Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)” or Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago” ?

USA WEATHER Did Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva outcharm Obama?

Now the question is whether the failure in Denmark will tarnish Obama’s image at home and abroad. What do you think? Should he have made the trip to Copenhagen at all? Is this a big failure or just a small bump?

Inevitably, Obama’s trip became fodder for Republican critics. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele: “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.”

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo Credit: Reuters/pool (President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Chicago 2016 CEO Pat Ryan leave stage after presentation), Reuters/Sergio Moraes (surfer rides the waves in Rio), Reuters/Frank Polich (Lake Michigan in Chicago)


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Obama the Silvertongue – all talk, no action. Lessons learned: pay attention to the issues that are important to ALL americans, support human rights (not just yak about it), and quit relying on your so-called charm and produce something solid instead! You’ve failed on health care, failed to support human rights in Iran and elsewhere, failed to help those who have lost their jobs in this country. Spend your energies on something worthwhile!

Posted by ditape | Report as abusive

it’s a small bump, i’m sure, for those mindless supporters of his who can’t see how inept and unready he is for the job of president. he’s still a chicago alderman, or councilman, who’s mindset is really about getting small things done for his small community. now he’s leading the world and heaven help us.

Posted by gj syder | Report as abusive

A LOT of people have been watching Obama and echoing the same refrain: “Either he’s seven moves ahead of everybody else, or he’s in trouble.” Today suggests that he ISN’T seven moves ahead of everybody else.

Posted by Scott W. Somerville | Report as abusive

All the fan fair before the election had created an image of grandiose magnetic attraction, perhaps president Obama has unfortunately embraced this.The Hollywood celebrity image and swooning by the press and acclaim that this is person we all have been waiting for,is beginning to rebound as his dithering is causing people to look past him.Because he was lifted up so high by his admires he has a tremendous job in front of him with his radical agenda,which only can be sustained if his keeps this oracle alive.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

It’s not Obama’s fault that Chicago lost the Olympics, although it’s obvious his work didn’t help (or help much). What strikes me, however, is the disconnect between what the press was saying (e.g. “Obama’s attendance will seal the deal”) and the reality — I do think the press fawns much too much over the President.

Posted by Craig | Report as abusive

What a foolish move by Mr. Obama. He bet too much lost ignominiously. This is going to leave a mark.

Posted by Mason | Report as abusive

For those of us who have been talking about how Obama is not a good president, this comes as no surprise.

Oh and did everyone hear? The unemployment rate is now 9.8 percent. Even the government said it is much worse than expected.

Oh and one more thing. Now that the stimulus money is running out, the economy is going downhill again..

But he is still working hard, right?

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Its better for all the people in world that Rio is hosting olympics else it would be only people from few countries like uk, australia, canda can come to olympics. As us wont give visa’s to people from other countries.

Posted by Ranhan | Report as abusive

Where exactly would they hold these Olympics in Chicago? Between the traffic congestion, constant road construction, overall lack of facilities and the weather, I never regarded Chicago as a contender. Throw in the mix corrupt politics and the Daley “Machine”, this would also put it out of contention. Now, if they were holding a sausage eating and beer drinking Olympics along with a Tommy Gun shoot off in a local service garage, Chicago would win hands down.

Posted by QED | Report as abusive

According to the guy who took over Obamas seat, it was Bushes fault,because he has upset that many people in Europe.I wounder if the toilet backs up in the main bedroom at the white house is it bushes fault as well?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

The Obama Olympics:

1. 100-meter spin.
2. Hope relay.
3. Climate Change Walking Race.
4. Maintain-status-quo Marathon.
5. Personal Attack Boxing.
6. Election Promise Weightlifting.
7. Healthcare Bait and Switch.
8. Barbed Comment Fencing.
9. Political Blame Ping-pong
10. Iranian Skeet Shoot.

Shown live and free to air, for the next 3-8 years on American Television.

Go, the USA!

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

I am thankful and grateful that the Obamas showed up in Denmark. The Euro-Centric IOC is once again anti-American (NYC 2012). I hope NBC doesn’t overpay for their 2016 Rio TV broadcast rights. Let’s hope that the IOC realizes who is putting the butter on their bread. Chicago had the best bid hands down. Kuddos to the Chicago mayor and their business community. P.S. Monanco’s Prince Albert need a class on how to properly ask a question. He sounded and acted like a quack when questioning the Chicago bid representatives.

Posted by Rick, Arlington, Texas | Report as abusive

I was secretly hoping that when Rio was announced as the winner, Obama would jump to the podium, grab the microphone and yell, “but America had the best video and Beyonce should have won!

Posted by richardsh | Report as abusive

guess what?
Your a empty suit that cant even get the olympics

Do you really think that you can be the leader of the free world

bring back bush please

you are the next jimmy carter , another loser that wants to be admired , that cant make a single decision

Posted by jeff | Report as abusive

A Dane’s comment:
– Arrogance doesn’t sell tickets.
South America deserves their chance, now they’ve got it.

Posted by Hans Jensen | Report as abusive

Am happy Brazil won the bid. But criticizing President Obama because he publically supported the bid for Chicago is frankly unfair. He is the President of our Country. Am sure any President would support the bid if any of our states was bidding for the Olympics.

Posted by Funmi | Report as abusive

The right has rejoiced in our loss, and Fox News and other right wing media have gone berserk with stories about the Chicago Olympic Committee, and false claims of cronyism and corruption.

Lost down the memory hole was the shame and scandal that tainted the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Led by Republican Mitt Romney and his cronies, the 2002 games were plagued by fundraising woes, bribery scandals — and the committee was also heavily infiltrated by the Mormon Church.

Romney successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee to drop its opposition to the US team carrying into the opening ceremonies a tattered American flag found in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

But then he angered the IOC when his office denied free or discounted tickets to widows and orphans of firefighters who died at the World Trade Center. Romney twice rejected the requests, citing a policy barring ticket giveaways, according to e-mails sent to former Salt Lake City firefighter A.J. Barto.

Six weeks later, the committee found itself with unsold seats and Romney approved distributing 100 tickets valued at $885 each to Utah legislators.

In less than two months, Romney went from saying we’re going to run a tight ship to throwing out free tickets to a group of people who could help him politically. Maybe the IOC looked at chicago and asked themselves if it could be any worse than Salt Lake City…

Posted by TDI | Report as abusive

They, the president, the first lady, and everyone in Chicago, did a very good job. Too bad that Chicago did not win. For those americans, member of congress included, who lobbyist against the USA should be treat as TREASON.

Posted by keith | Report as abusive

according to reuters up till 2weeks before the finale vote the usoc had refused accept what is customary ,that the hosts carry any loss that occurs.It is probably another case of Obama,s chicago surrogates in his white house team who are completely out of their depth, not warning him about the 2 years infighting between the usoc and the ioc.He walked into a done deal with out realizing that the world leader was not going to make the slightest difference.It is certainly a new excuse for our liberal finger pointers, Bush has been joined by Mitt as democratic panacea of all problems.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Some Republicans criticized the president’s trip to Copenhagen but other Republicans, like Mitt Romney, defended the president’s trip. The president is very popular abroad and was just trying to help the United States win the games.

Posted by Camron Barth | Report as abusive

Listen, whether the President went or not. It was obvious that Brazil would have gotten it. The Olympics has already been hosted in all of the other countries. It was ony fair to give Brazil the chance to host the Olympics for the first time.
The President should really thank his lucky stars Chicago didn’t get it because no city, ever, makes a profit from hosting the olympics.
President Obama was not the only statesman in attendance. There was also the King of Spain.

Posted by T.D. | Report as abusive

I would like to know why he and his wife had to take seperate planes? Seems they could have taken the same plane and saved the taxpayers a lot of money. This whole thing was another waste of taxpayer dollars for the President to make a move on a personal whim.

Posted by ljsk | Report as abusive

“I thought we were going to win this,” said Chicago-based civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, adding he was shocked by the rejection.

“We send our ‘A’ team — the president, the first lady making such a great presentation, and (TV talk show queen) Oprah (Winfrey) and the mayor and the governor. It just may be that we fought a great air war but this is a ground war struggle,” Jackson said.
Maybe the “A” Team was interperted as being less that an a team!!!

Posted by Gary C | Report as abusive

I am still laughing,

SPENT 3 million dollars on the trip, your money

Posted by ian | Report as abusive

With America’s tarnished reputation around the world is it really a surprise? All these dumb liberals can’t pull their head out of their posteriors long enough to see reality. They still live in the 60s. All the Kennedys are dead, Martin Luther King, Jr. is dead, Woodstock is over, nobody cares about Vietnam, the counterculture is now mainstream, and the hippies are now old. It’s time to move on.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

Don’t blame Obama. Blame the U.S. Olympic Committee. The fact is clear that Chicago does not, and never has enjoyed a positive image in the eyes of the world. The city’s history of political corruption, and its’ image as a crime center going all the way back to the days of Al Capone are well known. The disturbing and shocking video of last week’s tragic beating to death of an honor student by marauding gang members has traveled the world by way of YouTube. Chicago is very unattractive to the rest of the world. The U.S. Olympic Committee had a chance about a year ago to put its’ best foot forward, and they failed big time, by choosing to placate the anticipated next President and his home town, over America’s best liked city to most of the world, which was San Francisco. Had they not stabbed San Francisco in the back, maybe they could have won the 2016 bid promoting San Francisco instead. San Francisco has the best international image of any American big city. It could have been a real showplace to the world, and San Francisco wouldn’t have needed, Obama, Oprah, and Michael Jordan as its’ pitchmen. The city sells itself, and it was the only strong competition the U.S. could have put up against a very strong and compelling bid by Rio De Janeiro. Everyone knew this! Congratulations to Rio, the better city won out.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Who wants to go to Chicago? It is windy and cold, O;hare airport is an airport that I will always reroute from so as to never be stuck in its traffic. It is urban with urban problems. Sure, there are some redeeming features, but why would any one voluntarily go there? Against Rio??? C’mon, if you had that kind of money to go traveling, where would you pick!! I am amazed that anyone even thought it had a snowball’s chance.

Posted by renwick | Report as abusive


Posted by WARNER SMITH | Report as abusive