President Obama will travel to Copenhagen this week to “seal the deal” for Chicago’s 2016 bid for the Olympic games, the White House confirmed this morning.
After much back and forth, a White House official says the president decided to go at this late hour because the competition looks very close. The Obamas’ hometown is in a tight final race with Spain, Tokyo, and Brazil. Leaders from all three countries are going to Copenhagen this week to lobby for their city’s cause.
On Friday, members of the International Olympic Committee will cast final ballots in Copenhagen to determine the host country.
A White House official tells ABC News that “it’s gonna take everything we got” to win.
The official added that the president feels the health care issue is in a place that his absence for a day is not going to have a negative impact. And so he’s taking the red eye on Thursday, arriving Friday morning “to seal the deal.”
The White House had previously announced that Michelle Obama, along with a delegation of White House officials with Chicago ties, would travel to Copenhagen to represent the administration and Chicago.
Mr. Obama will now join the first lady there, and is slated to speak to the IOC on Friday. He will return to Washington Friday night, the same day that final votes are cast.
“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,” Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said in a paper 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.”
– Ann Compton, Yunji de Nies, and Sunlen Miller