WASHINGTON--I chatted with Senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday afternoon about Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics and Friday's International Olympic Committee vote. Jarrett is flying to Copenhagen Tuesday night with First Lady Michelle Obama, her chief of staff Susan Sher and her deputy, Melissa Winter.
The IOC has 106 members and the voting could go for several rounds. Only about 50 votes are needed for Chicago to be named the host city over Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro. Jarrett said an apt comparison to Chicago's IOC campaign would be the Iowa caucus. Obama's 2008 Iowa caucus win paved the way for his election as president. The Iowa caucus required intense, personal campaigning--much like the final sprint to lobby the IOC members.
Said Jarrett, "The Iowa caucus, where you can have more than one round and every single vote counts and it is very retail and you have to earn the trust and confidence of every single person you can and that's where our effort will be....it is very germane in the home stretch."
On related matters:
*While Jarrett will be wearing the team "uniform," expect President Obama and the first lady to be in their own clothes.
*Contrary to a report, Jarrett said she never met with HUD officials about Olympic housing issues.
"I actually was not in a meeting with HUD. ...I heard after the fact that (Chicago 2016 president) Lori Healey had a meeting with some staff meeting with people from HUD." Jarrett said that was an "informational meeting" to familiarize themselves with all the different HUD programs. "I would not have been with them at a meeting with HUD," she said.
Said Jarrett, there was a report of her "buying tickets to some movie in Georgetown the other night in Politico, and that was not true either."