WASHINGTON--First Lady Michelle Obama, off to Copenhagen on Tuesday night to lobby for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid, said the rash of crime in Chicago won't hurt the city when the International Olympic Committee votes on Friday.
In a session with reporters on Monday, Mrs. Obama said, "You know, there are a number of big cities that are bidding. And when you live in a big city there are issues that are unique to urban settings. Chicago isn't unique in that way. But that's one of the things that I can talk about personally. I mean, you know, most of these Games are taking place blocks away from my house. There's good security by my house these days. And while Chicago is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, it is -- people don't live in fear. The downtown area is completely accessible.
"But more importantly, the character of Chicago shines through. We're Midwestern folks, and there's a bit of southern hospitality that comes along with that place. We know how to treat our visitors with respect and with open arms. And I think that's the character that will shine through, in addition to the fact that it's such an international city.
"Then you think about the countries that are going to be represented and you think of the 77 different community areas in Chicago, it's almost a little U.N. There are significant communities that would support these athletes from across the globe. And it's important for people to understand that Chicago isn't just a U.S. place, it's an international place. And people will be able to go into communities and shop and find food that they get back home. They'll be able to hear their music. They'll be able to see people like them.
"I know Mayor Daley, and he's going to make sure that these Games go off without a hitch because that's the kind of mayor he is. It's not called the "City That Works" for nothing. It really works. And it's not always perfect, but it's really, really good."