Obama Goes Stumping for Chicago's 2016 Olympic Bid

Ambivalence greets the president's push to bring the 2016 games to his adopted hometown of Chicago

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As an adopted son of Chicago, President Obama has taken a special interest in the city's bid to host the 2016 Olympics. But the news that he's going to fly over to Copenhagen to make a personal pitch for the city--the last American candidate in the running for the games--has many asking if he's gone overboard. Is he more invested in lobbying for the Windy City than he is in, say, climate change?

Maybe. Even when it was only Michelle Obama slated to make the pitch, some writers were ambivalent. As the Wire recently reported, some Chicagoans have bristled against the financial burden of hosting the games, while others have argued Chicago was a poor candidate in the first place. Finally, some pundits on the left and the right predictably slam Obama's priorities. Here's what they're saying:

  • He Should Lobby for Climate, Too, writes Climate Progress. "If the president is going to Copenhagen for something that is relatively inconsequential both substantively and politically -- it's not like Illinois is in great jeopardy for the Dems -- then I can now predict with high confidence he will go to Copenhagen in December for the climate talks, which will be crucial for helping achieve a global deal."
  • Good Reasons for Ambivalence, writes Dave Schuler at the Glittering Eye. "If the venues can be kept within the compact area of Chicago proper, well and good. However, if the need for specialized venues expands into the suburbs, particularly the western suburbs, the Olympics could become a nightmare, immobilizing the city."
  • The Best Chance the U.S. Has, writes Brian Cazeneuve at Sports Illustrated. "The announcement this morning that President Barack Obama will go to Copenhagen to pitch the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid to the IOC membership this week is a potential game-changer. If recent history holds, personal appeals from world leaders sway votes."
  • No Guarantee of Economic Gain, writes the Atlantic's own Derek Thompson. "Overall, it's terribly difficult to put a number to the Olympics' impact. Not only are the costs of hosting shared by potentially millions of citizens, but also the future revenues from tourism that stem from the city's heightened reputation are difficult to price."
  • Misplaced Priorities, Byron York in the Washington Examiner. "With growing pressure for decisions on life-or-death issues in Afghanistan and Iran, this morning the White House announced that President Obama will soon travel to...Copenhagen"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.