About two weeks ago, President Obama supposed he was too busy to go to Denmark to lobby for Chicago’s bid to host the Olympics. "I would make the case in Copenhagen personally,” he said, “if I weren’t so firmly committed to making real the promise of quality, affordable health care for every American."
Evidently, his commitment to health care is no longer quite so time consuming. Mr. Obama announced Monday that he would fly to Copenhagen this week after all to lobby the International Olimpic Committee for the 2016 Summer Games.
Mr. Obama changed his mind and decided to take a gamble no other American president has taken at the urging of his close friend and senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, who has been deeply involved in promoting Chicago’s bid. He hopes to trump the presence in Copenhagen of his counterparts from rival countries seeking the games — Brazil, Japan and Spain — and duplicate the success that Tony Blair of Britain and Vladimir Putin of Russia have had in recent years by personally lobbying for their nations’ bids.
In the meantime, Brazilian soccer great Pele isn't worried President Barack Obama's star power could help Chicago win the bid for the 2016 Olympics at the expense of Rio de Janeiro.
Rio is seen as a slight favorite ahead of Friday's vote by the International Olympic Committee, but Obama's decision to fly into Copenhagen for the final presentation could swing the ballot in Chicago's favor. Madrid and Tokyo are the other candidates.
However, Pele said Tuesday that Rio "doesn't compete with Obama. We are competing against Madrid, against Tokyo, against Chicago."
The 68-year-old Pele pointed out that Rio is also bringing some big names.
"If they have Obama, we have Lula, we have Pele," he said, referring to Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, The Associated Press reports.
It was also reported, the competition to host the 2016 Summer Olympics is fierce, and the first couple is taking a lesson from world leaders who have succeeded in bringing the games to their respective countries.
"This is extraordinary," ABC News consultant and USA Today sports columnist Christine Brenner said on "Good Morning America" today. "It's just rock stars showing up left and right, and I think the Obamas are doing the right thing. The president didn't have much of a choice. Being from Chicago, he had to do this," ABC News reports.