Obama Heading to Copenhagen for Olympic Pitch

The president will leave Thursday night

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    President Barack Obama will try to charm the IOC.

    President Obama will travel to Copenhagen to make a pitch for Chicago’s Olympic bid, White House officials have confirmed to NBC News.

    Obama will leave for Denmark Thursday night, hours after his wife Michelle departs for the vote. The president made the final decision Saturday night after returning from the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.

    "The President decided over the weekend that he wanted be a part of the final push as we enter the home stretch," Jarrett told Politico.com

    "He did not want to leave any stone unturned. He is very excited about joining the First Lady for both the final presentation and the question and answer session. The Olympic spirit is about giving it your very best down to finish line and not taking anything for granted. That's what his presence in Copenhagen will demonstrate."

    The announcement ends months of speculation of whether the president would lend his considerable fame to the pitch. The president has dropped hints all monthlong that he may attend the event.

    Last week he sent an advance team to Copenhagen just in case he could make it and a letter he wrote to select IOC members seemed to hint that he would be there.

    His attendance could help catapult Chicago past Madrid, Tokyo and Rio to win the 2016 Summer Games. International Olympic Committee members will vote on which of those four cities should receive the games on October 2. NBCChicago.com will be streaming live coverage of the vote.

    The president "hopes to make a strong case for Chicago and America's bid for the Olympics in 2016," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told White House reporters during a briefing on Monday morning.

    "Obviously, the Olympics showcases the country that those Olympics are in and there's a tangible economic benefit to those games being here," Gibbs said. 

    Obama will round out a team of heavy-hitting supporters including Oprah, Valerie Jarrett, Michelle Obama and Arne Duncan.

    The president called Mayor Richard Daley, who left for Copenhagen Friday, at 6:55 a.m. Eastern time to say that he was indeed going to Denmark.

    “President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama symbolize the hope, opportunity and inspiration that makes Chicago great, and we are honored to have two of our city’s most accomplished residents leading our delegation in Copenhagen,” Daley said in a statement.

    “Who better to share with members of the International Olympic Committee the commitment and enthusiasm Chicago has for the Olympic and Paralympic Movement than the President and First Lady.”

    Patrick Ryan, CEO of Chicago 2016 is equally enthused.

    “There is no greater expression of the support our bid enjoys, from the highest levels of government and throughout our country, than to have President Obama join us in Copenhagen for the pinnacle moment in our bid,”  Ryan said.  “We are honored that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be with us to extend a hand of friendship on behalf of our nation and the City of Chicago as we seek to welcome the world for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

    For complete coverage of Chicago 2016 Olympic bid, click here.