WASHINGTON-- President Obama may not travel to Copenhagen next month to help Chicago's final push on Oct. 2 with the International Olympic Committee to win the 2016 summer Olympic games. The heads of states of Brazil, Japan and Spain will be in Denmark to help their nations land the games.
At a White House briefing on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the trip to Denmark is not now on his schedule. White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett --who was part of the Chicago 2016 committee before joining the Obama administration--will be making the trip.
After the briefing, I was told by a White House staffer that Gibbs answer was not definative--meaning it was not a hard no. It just was not a yes. Still, for those who were counting on Obama making it to Copenhagen--well, they can't count on it. Here's how the briefing unfolded.
Gibbs was asked about Copenhagen and the Olympics. Is the president going to go?
"Not that I'm aware of, no."
I then pressed Gibbs for more information about the situation.
"Well, you know now you probably made a few million ears
perk up by saying that he's not coming. So if you have," I said.
Gibbs then told me, " I should -- I said -- I said that as far as the
schedule I had seen, that was not planned."
Asked if the date was being held, Gibbs said he would check.
"Well, this is -- I will, because of those several millions ears that have now since perked, check."
Asked again "Is the date being held" Gibbs said, "Let me check. It's hard for me to look into my invisible crystal ball."
This is the transcript of Gibbs talking at the Thursday briefing about whether President Obama will travel to Copenhagen next month to bolster Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic games.
Is the president going to go?
MR. GIBBS: Not that I'm aware of, no.
Q Really? Why not?
Chicago wants to know.
MR. GIBBS: Let me double-check on the president's schedule.
Obviously I anticipate having representatives there.
Q Well, we know that Valerie is going. Okay, and there had
always been a thought, I thought --
Thank you for bringing it up.
Q No. Please.
MR. GIBBS: The gentleman yields his time to the gentlelady from
-- representing Chicago.
Q Well, you know now you probably made a few million ears
perk up by saying that he's not coming. So if you have --
MR. GIBBS: I should -- I said -- I said that as far as the
schedule I had seen, that was not planned. I will, based on the
millions of --
Q Well, you don't just hop over to Copenhagen. I mean,
Q Is the date being held?
MR. GIBBS: Well, this is -- I will, because of those several
millions ears that have now since perked, check.
Q Is the date being held?
MR. GIBBS: Let me check. It's hard for me to look into my
invisible crystal ball.
Q (Off mike.) He might not come, if it was thought that the
city's bid, which has a little bumpy road back home right now, was in
trouble. So that would be very useful, to get the whole picture from
MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I think, the last set of articles I read,
on where the IOC was on Olympic bids, had America's bid in Chicago at
the top of that list. So I don't -- without getting into Chicago
politics on that, I think, our bid is -- this country's bid is very
well represented and seems to be making progress.
Reclaiming your time.
Q Could this be a today thing, to get back and clarify?
MR. GIBBS: I will -- I will endeavor to call up the schedule
when I get back to my office.
Q Thank you.
MR. GIBBS: Yeah.