Obama's Olympic pitch draws GOP complaint

MacNut

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http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g-ubeZxp4teymzpNsaikQFX-UYOwD9B15GJ05
NEW YORK — President Obama's decision to travel to Copenhagen to boost Chicago's chances of winning the 2016 Olympics has drawn criticism from some Republicans, who call it a boondoggle for Obama's hometown allies and evidence the president has blurred his priorities.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele denounced the visit on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. Calling it "noble for the president to pitch his home city, Chi-town," before the International Olympic Committee Friday, Steele said it nonetheless was a distraction from more pressing issues such as health care, job creation and other urgent demands on Obama's time.

However, Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential contender, said Obama was right to make an appearance.

"In the current environment, the presence of a head of state is important to get the Games," Romney, who headed the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, said, noting that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had set a new standard by personally lobbying for his country's succesful 2012 Olympic bid.

Steele said it raised questions about Obama's priorities.

"Where is the focus?" Steele asked. "At a time of war, at a time of recession ... I think this trip is nice but not necessary for the president. The goal should be creating job opportunities not seven years from now, but job opportunities today."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs laughed when told of Steele's criticism of Obama's trip.

"Who's he rooting for?" Robert Gibbs said. "Is he hoping to hop a plane to Brazil and catch the Olympics in Rio? I don't know. Maybe it's Madrid."
Steele's comments echoed those of Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee, who told reporters Obama should focus on the escalating conflict in Afghanistan.

Just last week Obama said he wouldn't make the trip to Copenhagen, citing his need to press for health care reform legislation instead. White House officials mentioned the economic benefits the U.S. would receive from a winning Olympics bid in explaining the president's sudden change of heart.
First Lady Michelle Obama was originally slated to represent Chicago before the IOC but will now share the duties with her husband.

The city's bid is competing with bids from Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Spain and Tokyo, and the heads of state from Brazil, Spain and Japan are appearing in person to make their countries' pitch.

Indeed, Curt Hamakawa, director of the Center for International Sport Business at Western New England College in Massachusetts, said Chicago would likely lose the bid if Obama had chosen not to go.

"For the president not to attend would send a signal, and it would not be helpful to Chicago's bid. Almost certainly it would result in Chicago not having a chance," Hamakawa said, adding that if Obama had stayed home and Chicago wasn't selected, "Republicans would have been crabbing that he didn't do enough."

GOP strategist John Feehery said it was important for Republicans to pick their battles in deciding how and when to criticize Obama.

But Feehery, a Chicago native who said he is rooting for the city to win the Games, said GOP complaints about Obama's trip were well-founded.

"He's taking a bunch of Chicago cronies on an all expense paid trip to Copenhagen for just one reason, to get the Olympics," Feehery said. "For me it makes him seem unserious and look slightly desperate."

Grumbling about Obama's trip began to bubble up on conservative blogs and Web sites soon after the White House announced Obama's trip Monday.

"It's not like the president doesn't have anything to do, nothing important on his plate at the moment, right?" the blog Rightwing Nuthouse.com asked, while the conservative Drudge Report posted a television news story about a Chicago teen beaten and murdered in gang warfare there last week.

"Olympic Spirit," the Drudge Report declared in a headline.
Has any other sitting president gone this far to get the Olympic bid, not criticizing just asking. Curious what other Chicagoans think about this.
 

thegoldenmackid

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It is one day. Steele is an idiot that isn't even respected in his own party. Clearly other Presidential activities such as meeting with the champions of respective sporting events are more meaningful then spending a day on a trip that could result in billions of dollars being spent in the United States.

How many jobs or how much resolution on health care can Obama do in the one day that he is going to be gone. This is why someone's party is laughed upon.
 

thegoldenmackid

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Hypocrites. Where was the outrage from the GOP when Bush went on vacation practically every weekend?
The wood that he sawed in Crawford created jobs and the lawyer that Cheney shot was really an enemy combatant.

The area could use the economic boost. I think we have a few more pressing matters though.
I agree Health Care more important then Olympics, but seriously, it's not as if 100 percent of the President's time is going to be spent on the Olympics. It's rather the opposite, explain to me what one day is going to matter.

I mean, he's also the head of state and should act like one. Going to lobby for the Olympics seems better then...

 

MacNut

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The area could use the economic boost. I think we have a few more pressing matters though.
How much will it cost Chicago to build everything. Will they be in debt before they turn a maybe 2 week profit.
 

Eraserhead

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The wood that he sawed in Crawford created jobs and the lawyer that Cheney shot was really an enemy combatant.
ROFL.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g-ubeZxp4teymzpNsaikQFX-UYOwD9B15GJ05
Has any other sitting president gone this far to get the Olympic bid, not criticizing just asking. Curious what other Chicagoans think about this.
Its one day, and he has "adopted" Chicago as his city. I don't think any of the press made an issue about Blair supporting the London Olympic bid - let alone an MP.
 

thegoldenmackid

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How much will it cost Chicago to build everything. Will they be in debt before they turn a maybe 2 week profit.
Who knows, but I imagine Chicago would come out with a profit in the end.

Do the people of Chicago want the Olympics.
Chicago Tribune said:
Nearly two-thirds of Chicago-area residents want the city to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games,
Seems the citizens have the right idea to avoid the problems of debt/taxes.
 

electroshock

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That is their job as opposition. Just be glad on this occasion they haven't tried to liken it to hitler in some way (yet).
It's understandable that Mr. Steele would have to make these comments lest he risk a leadership power struggle from within his own party over efforts to aggressively present a counterviewpoint.

But he would also do well to remember what the Olympic movement is all about: a temporary truce amongst nations involved, free of politics (or so goes the ideals), to mount the greatest exhibition of athletic competition on Earth. He doesn't have to like or agree with Mr. Obama's views, but he could at least try not to make such comments to derail this nation's tough bid -- or at least hold such comments until after the outcome is known.
 

yg17

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My money is on Rio getting them anyways, South America has never hosted the Olympics before.

I can't say I'd want them in my city either, it would be a huge clusteryou-know-what. I think Chicago hosting the Olympics would benefit St. Louis and other nearby cities, what with people visiting Chicago wanting to see other cities too and perhaps people who live in Chicago just wanting to get the hell away from the mess, but I wouldn't want the Olympics themselves here.
 

.Andy

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It's understandable that Mr. Steele would have to make these comments lest he risk a leadership power struggle from within his own party over efforts to aggressively present a counterviewpoint.

But he would also do well to remember what the Olympic movement is all about: a temporary truce amongst nations involved, free of politics (or so goes the ideals), to mount the greatest exhibition of athletic competition on Earth. He doesn't have to like or agree with Mr. Obama's views, but he could at least try not to make such comments to derail this nation's tough bid -- or at least hold such comments until after the outcome is known.
Which is exactly why the good cop bad cop routine is so effective here. Steele playing politics to solidify support from opponents of obama with the point of view that pimping chicago is undermining the presidency. And romney saying that it's a worthwhile goal for the sake of america. That's the beauty of being in opposition. You can attack from multiple angles. On issues such as this there is little impetus on displaying a united front.

MacNut said:
When did I say that?? I like to watch them, would want to go sometime. Not sure I would want it in my back yard though.
When they were in sydney I think they were awesome. Wasn't that enthusiastic beforehand but it turned out pretty cool.
 

PlaceofDis

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as a chicagoan i do NOT want the Olympics here at all. and while i don't care that Obama wants to go and support the bid, the only reason it bothers me at all is that it strengthens Chicago's chances of getting the games... something i'm opposed to.

the city is in debt already, these massive projects might spur some growth, but in the end we'll end up even more in debt. at best i think it'd end up being a break-even gamble.
 

thegoldenmackid

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When did I say that?? I like to watch them, would want to go sometime. Not sure I would want it in my back yard though.
Yes, I would love for Dallas to host them. It would be cool to get to experience that in my backyard.

Which is exactly why the good cop bad cop routine is so effective here. Steele playing politics to solidify support from opponents of obama with the point of view that pimping chicago is undermining the presidency. And romney saying that it's a worthwhile goal for the sake of america. That's the beauty of being in opposition. You can attack from multiple angles. On issues such as this there is little impetus on displaying a united front.
Yes, but illogical points.

as a chicagoan i do NOT want the Olympics here at all. and while i don't care that Obama wants to go and support the bid, the only reason it bothers me at all is that it strengthens Chicago's chances of getting the games... something i'm opposed to.

the city is in debt already, these massive projects might spur some growth, but in the end we'll end up even more in debt. at best i think it'd end up being a break-even gamble.
But if private funds (I know that won't happen) paid for them, would you support it?
 

yg17

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But if private funds (I know that won't happen) paid for them, would you support it?
It's a huge logistical nightmare. Yeah, it's nice to have your city in the international spotlight for a couple weeks, but events like that create a huge mess for people that live there. St. Louis had the MLB All-Star Game this year, and I work downtown a few blocks from Busch Stadium. Luckily, I had the luxury of working from home for those 2 days (home run derby and the game) but others didn't, and the traffic, closed streets, detours, scarce and expensive parking, etc, just created a big problem for them, and I can't even begin to imagine how much worse the Olympics would be. And employers aren't going to let employees off work for 3 weeks just because the Olympics are in town.