WASHINGTON--When Oprah Winfrey, one of the most famous women in the world, arrives in Copenhagen next week to bolster Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic summer games, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned she will have a list of members of the International Olympic Committee to buttonhole as she does some one-on-one lobbying.
Winfrey, First Lady Michelle Obama, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett will engage in a series of one and one meetings with targeted members of the 106 member IOC, in a quest for the 50 plus votes it will take for Chicago to prevail over Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo in the Oct. 2 IOC balloting.
Mrs. Obama and Jarrett land in Copenhagen on Sept. 30. Winfrey's arrival is not known.
Jarret told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday, "Oprah will have a full schedule from the time she hits the ground as well. I think that she is an international icon, widely respected throughout the world and her presence, and her willingness to put her reputation behind Chicago, a city she both calls home and loves and knows so well, I think will have a very significant impact on the IOC."
Mrs. Obama will be a central figure in the final presentation Chicago will make to the IOC, a 45 minute sales pitch that will be Chicago's closing argument. Mrs. Obama will deliver a speech and the program will be adjusted if President Obama decides to attend. Obama has declined to say for sure if he will go because of the ongoing negotiations over health care with Congress.
Jarrett said she has been "Working hard preparing the first lady for her presentation. I have reviewed her speech and I will say to you without signaling our strategy that is deeply, a deeply personal appeal to the Olympic Committee, International Olympic Committee.