In Copenhagen, First Lady Michelle Obama Campaigns for Chicago's 2016 Olympic Bid

First lady: "You can't take any vote for granted."

ByYunji De Nies, Karen Travers and Sunlen Miller
September 30, 2009, 6:36 PM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Sept. 30, 2009— -- From the moment her feet touched the ground here in Denmark, first lady Michelle Obama was in campaign mode, lending her clout to Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games.

"We are fired up and ready to go," she said at a welcome reception for Chicago boosters this evening, employing a familiar phrase President Obama has used on the campaign trail.

"We're so happy to be here, I am so excited," she added. "We've got a lot of work to do, so we're not taking anything for granted, so I'm going to talk to some voters."

Those voters are the members of the International Olympic Committee and today the first lady likened them to the caucus goers who gave her husband his first campaign win in 2008.

"Barack and I have looked at this -- this is like a campaign. Just like Iowa," she said. "The international community may not understand that, but Iowa is like a caucus, and you can't take any vote for granted. Nobody makes the decision until they're sitting there."

Michelle Obama flew into Copenhagen for a three-day trip and joined a team of Chicago officials, including Mayor Richard Daley, pushing for the Olympics.

"This is a very tough campaign. These are very competitive cities," Daley said. "Toyko, Rio, Madrid -- they're fantastic cities."

The delegations of Chicago's rivals are pulling out all the stops to boost their own chances. Brazil's president, Lula da Silva, brought international soccer star Pele to woo the Olympic committee voters. The royal families from Japan and Spain will make their bids in person as well.

President Obama will arrive on Friday to deliver a presentation to the committee just hours before the final vote.

Chicago has brought some glamour too and she is known by just one word -- Oprah.

"It really is a campaign, not even of sorts, it really is," Winfrey, the famed talk-show host, told ABC News. "But I don't think that people are as mean and ugly."

Most of the campaigning in Copenhagen is happening behind the scenes. Michelle Obama is meeting one-on-one with the more-than-100 members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The first lady, President Obama and Vice President Biden all have been working the phones pushing Chicago's bid.

Team Obama Has Less Than 48 Hours to Bring Home the Gold

The contest will go down to the wire. The IOC is a crowd that is accustomed to being smooched by European royalty and royalty from the U.S. basketball's "Dream Team," including star hoopster David Robinson.

Many of the IOC members are global power players themselves, and the prospect of meeting President Obama on Friday leaves some of them unfazed.

Ung Chang, who has been an IOC member for the last 13 years, told ABC News he's accustomed seeing presidents and heads of state at these events, and so he's "not much excited" at the prospect of meeting President Obama.

Asked who might win, Chang shook his head and laughed.

"I don't know, God knows!" he said.

In the shadow of all this glitz, there's another lobbying effort, albeit with a much lower profile, by a group that does not want the Olympics to come to Chicago.

"We think the bills are going to go through the roof and the taxpayers will be soaked," said Tom Tresser, organizer of "No Games Chicago."

For Michelle Obama's Team Chicago, right now it's not about money or how Chicago will pay for the Games down the road. It's about votes. And they have less than 48 hours to bring home the gold.

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