Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama to Copenhagen to lead Chicago 2016 Olympic bid. Health care may ground Obama


Updated with official announcement at 2:54 p.m. eastern....

WASHINGTON--President Obama just phoned Mayor Daley to tell him he may not be able to travel to Copenhagen next month to help make the final pitch for Chicago to win the 2016 Olympic summer games because of his pending fight to pass health care legislation. First Lady Michelle Obama will lead the U.S. delegation, the Sun-Times has learned.

I'm told the President told the mayor he is very committed, he will continue to press the case and Michelle Obama will lead the U.S. Olympic Committee delegation's bid for the Chicago 2016 games. Obama can't, at this moment, commit to going because he cannot say where the health care issue will be in the first week of October.

This puts pressure on Mrs. Obama to deliver if she indeed ends up filling in for the president. She will be competing with the heads of state of Brazil, Japan and Spain who are going to Denmark on a high stakes sales call to secure the games for Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo or Madrid.

Chicago boosters were hoping that the U.S. Olympic Committee's Chicago bid would be bolstered by Obama because of the enormous international popularity of the president.

The International Olympic Committee meets in Copenhagen on Oct. 2 where the 100-plus members vote on the 2016 host city. White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett--who was part of the Chicago 2016 Committee before joining the Obama administration--is also going to Copenhagen.

The Obamas will host an event at the White House on Sept. 16 with Olympic and paralympic athletes in order to help promote landing the games in their home town.

Below, official White House announcement...


The White House announced today that First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, in support of Chicago's historic bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. On October 2, 2009, Mrs. Obama will attend the 121st International Olympic Committee Session at the Bella Center - Copenhagen Congress Center. It is here that the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics will be selected from the remaining four candidate cities: Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. President Obama informed IOC President Count Jacques Rogge today that the fight to pass health insurance reform keeps him from committing at this time to travel to Copenhagen on October 2, but he will continue to work to support Chicago's bid along with the First Lady and Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the President, who will accompany the First Lady to Copenhagen.

"One of the great honors I have as First Lady is to represent America around the world and it is with great pride that I will go to Copenhagen to make the case for the United States to host the 2016 Olympics," said Mrs. Obama. "There is no doubt in my mind that Chicago would offer the world a fantastic setting for these historic games and I hope that the Olympic torch will have the chance to burn brightly in my hometown."

Mrs. Obama was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, not far from the suggested locations for the Games. In her role as First Lady, Mrs. Obama has been committed to bridging the gap between the White House and underserved communities around DC and across the country - opening the doors of the White House and bringing new opportunities to young people. Visiting Copenhagen is an opportunity for the First Lady to carry this commitment to the international stage.

"As President Obama has said, hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Chicago would be a valuable opportunity for our nation to welcome the world to our shores, and strengthen our friendships across the globe," said Valerie Jarrett. "I know that it would serve as a beacon of hope and lift the aspirations of so many young people in Chicago, in America and across the world even higher."

Chicago's diverse communities and vibrant neighborhoods, paired with a scenic waterfront, soaring architecture, and innovative technologies and infrastructure would make the city a perfect stage for the 2016 Olympics. The city's pledge to encourage the involvement of children through the distribution of over 500,000 tickets to local youth and its commitment to the environment through the Blue Green initiative, reinforce Mrs. Obama's belief that the city of Chicago would be the ideal host for these Olympic Games.

The President and First Lady will be hosting an event with the White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport and Chicago 2016 on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 to help promote Chicago's bid for the Olympics, as well as helping promote our commitment to healthy living and youth sport. There will be Olympic athletes and Paralympic athletes in attendance as well. This event will help highlight the Obama administration's commitment to giving our nation's children every possible tool they need to grow, learn and succeed in life. A key part of this is increasing access to healthy, constructive activities like sports for our nation's children. The Olympic athletes will be visiting local schools in the morning and then joining the President and First Lady at the White House in the afternoon. More details will be released in the coming days.



It's a rap for sure, Rio will take it.

I think she'll do a good job.

Oh well, kiss the bid goodbye.

The ubermillitant Michelle "Angry Black Woman" Obama has all the charm of a bag of scorpions.

She can only hope to be as charming as you, DM. LOL. They didn't call her "The Closer" during the campaign for nothing, she'll help the bid.

Write a check america Michele is coming. Will she use twist their arms? If Chicago is so rich to hold an olympic more pork guys.

I think The Frist Lady will do a wonderful job and will represent our country with pride and honesty.

Gee, I didn't know that the Olympics had a "patient-dumping" event...or even one where the contestants could stand up in front of a crowd and see how many lies they could stuff into a 48 minute long speech....

If those two events are added to the Chicago Olympics list of approved events, why even our "prez'dint" and michele could get gold medals....but then they'd probably have to listen to our national anthem, and that might not sit well with 'em, cuz they'd have to pretend to be "proud" of America.....

rio is a city of sticks, druglords, and poverty!so john boy.unscrew your mixed up's chicago's to lose!

michelle has a big world influence and is very very smart.she can pull a willam payne who got the games to atlanta!the women on that ioc voting board is who michelle can attract!

If I were the President, I would respond to Mayor Daley with the following comment:

Dear Mayor Daley: I was so looking forward to attend the Oct 2 festivities in Copenhagen until you made the request I take furlough days. That said, I have decided to, Oct 1 - 5. Michelle will fill me in.

The Pres.

Great choice -- her home town affiliations make her an excellent advocate with credibility that someone who didn't grow up in the city wouldn't have. We're lucky on this one.

Daley and his olympic team better be paying for this!! No taxpayer dollars should be spent!!!

Thank God for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and for His student the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, because I understand you people now!


DM. Shame. Imbecile.
Why are the ignorant assholes in this nation so full of themselves?
Full of shit, in fact.
That comment should never have been approved.

Why are these assholes such terrible spellers, to top it off?

The President has other priorities and the First Lady is an obvious choice to represent U.S. interests and try to gain the bid. When George Bush was President, Mrs. Bush filled in for him and was an excellent ambassador for the U.S. as is Mrs. Obama. What better representative than someone who was born and bred in the Windy City and I'm sure has a passion for Chicago to host the Olympics.

With the fact of the vote being so close, and with the IOC leaning toward Rio with its technical evaluation, and wanting to award the games to South America, the writing is on the wall. Obama does not want to take the chance, as the leader of the free world, to travel to Copenhagen, to lobby to a group of prima donnas, only to come home empty-handed and to lose face with the rest of the world. My prediction is that, with nothing more than a first lady in attendance, that Chi town will not get past the 1st round of voting. Good luck to Rio - start booking your cruise ship hotels for 2016.

The City of Chicago is the highest taxed city in the entire United States. The residents of Chicago simply cannot afford any other tax revenue scheme to pay the outrageous bill that the cost of the Olympics would require.

80% of our public schools are over-crowded. This translates into adding more structure to house all the classrooms that would be needed to reduce the class size. Where is the money going to come from for this? Hey Huberman, did you fire any more teachers or other support staff? Where is Daley going to move you next? And how many pensions are you getting when you retire?

Yet, in various parts of this city, the sewers and catch basins are falling apart proving that Daley's plan for the Belmont-Cragin area did not work. The vortex or flow restrictors designed by Daley's buddies at Harza Engineering is a scam costing us over $1.5 million dollars.

Pot holes appear to be everywhere.

Sink holes, a portion of the street that is collapsing, need repair.

Daley claims that we need to give furloughs to city employees because there is not enough money available. Then, just this past week, on September 10, 2009, 49 of 50 aldermen voted to guarantee another 500,000,000 dollars for these games, and without any oversight of how the funds get distributed - it's the new Clout Heaven. I must be missing something here. On the one hand, there is not enough money so that city employees must take furlough days but on the other there is enough money to guarantee the fee for the Olympic 2016 games.

We need to replace 49 of the 50 aldermen that voted yes to guarantee taxpayers money to support something that has not been proven to generate any positive cash flow for the residents of Chicago. Taxpayers will be paying for this nonsense for many years to come.

We need legislation that limits the dollar amount that any "body" can spend without a referendum. City Council constitutes the "body".

What's even worse is that the $500 million price tag does not take into account any buildings that need construction, transportation to and from these buildings, etc. Where does Daley think that money is going to come from? I know, the taxpayers.

Fact: Over the last 12 years, any project Daley initiated never came in under budget.
Example: Millennium Park: estimated at $25 million but actually costed over $1 billion. Big difference here, right?
Example: Sewer Project - $25 million earmarked for Belmont Cragin area and several other adjacent communities. The Sewer Department, under the direction of John Kosiba, went about screwing the people. Each block received a mere $600 for fixing the problem, which turned out to be the cost of the flow restrictors.
Rain water that was suppose to dissipate within hours, takes days. Then, to compensate for bugs that would propagate in the catch basins (cb) we use chemicals to kill the larvae. Wow, this is the same water that is recirculated into our drinking water. Good going Daley, you're not trying to poison us along the way, now are you? The Department of Environment was never involved in the talks!

As a person who has lived in Chicago all his life, I must tell you that I consider such expenditures in these hard financial times, to be outrageous at best. We need some fiscal responsibility and real leadership in Chicago, the State of Illinois and the Federal government. The spend, spend more, and spend the maximum you can does not fly with Mr. and Mrs. America who is struggling just to survive.

Olmypic Committee, take the games elsewhere because the taxpayers of Chicago cannot afford your games.

Does anybody know the address of the "Olympic SELECTION Committee" (not the Olympic Committee)? I am a Chicagoan, we don't need the Olympics in a corrupt City like Chicago. Chicago is a beautiful City in privileged areas. Also, Chicago could have been beatified for 40% less. The other 40% went in to the Mayor Richard Daley’s pocket including his Family, Mob friends etc.

We need to rebuild Louisiana from Katrina, our dilapidated infrastructure, education and so much more throughout our country instead of filing the pockets of corrupt City officials and Chicago gangsters.

Look up the Chicago Sun times or Tribune "Clout on Wheel", Family Secrets Trial, HDO," the corruption is endless.

I voted for Obama. When Obama first selection of his administration was RAHM I knew I wasted my vote. RAHM answers to Mayor Daley. Politics Chicago style. The above information would be appreciated i.e. "Olympic SELECTION Committee"

Thank You,

Frank Anton

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 11, 2009 11:20 AM.

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