Since Obama was elected at the beginning of the month, rumors have flown about his ability to influence Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid. Obama's ties to Chicago are no secret, and what's more, any president is likely to lobby a major organiation like the International Olympics Committee on behalf of one of his country's major cities. That makes sense, hometown connections or no.
Many immediately conceded the elections to the U.S., including the Japanese, who feared that a push from Obama would be enough to get Chicago over the top. Whether or not that's true is another matter, but if today's news is any indication, Obama didn't take long to impress the IOC:
Obama appeared in a 90-second taped video message played by Chicago bid leaders to the general assembly of European Olympic Committees, the largest regional group in the Olympic movement. Obama’s remarks, which were taped last Friday, were greeted by warm applause in the conference hall.
“I think it was very dramatic,” said Patrick Hickey, an Irish IOC member who heads the European body. “I think everybody in the room was impressed with that. It added a great touch of spice to the Chicago presentation. The message was excellent. He was very gracious to the Olympic movement.”
And ... bam. Obamafied! If you thought Obama charmed the American people, wait until you get him around Olympics Committee members. He doesn't even need to show up. A 90-second Youtube clip seems to have done the trick.
Of course, now that Chicago has Obama on its side, the next step is stopping the imitators from co-opting his brand. For example:
In its presentation, Rio borrowed one of Obama’s signature lines to argue why the Olympics should go to South America for the first time.
“We are ready. We are committed,” said Sergio Cabral, governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro. “And, I hope that you will make the historic choice in Copenhagen. Yes, we can.”
Whoa whoa whoa, Brazil. Time out. You don't get that line, OK? "Yes, we can" is a registered trademark of Hope, Inc. Cease and desist immediately. Or, failing that, at least stop raping the Amazon for a few minutes. We could settle on those terms.