“A sense of stunned bewilderment suffused Air Force One and the White House.”

After Chicago got knocked out of the race to host the 2016 Olympics in the first round of voting yesterday – Rio won – it’s interesting to read a more robust defence of “superstar” US President Barack Obama’s involvement from a BBC journalist than in the NY Times editorial.

We like having an articulate, fiercely competitive president, especially one with such a strong moral compass. But guys, if you’re going to roll the dice, next time make sure the stakes are worth it.

A second NY Times report notes that, “[President Obama] learned Chicago lost in the first round while watching a CNN transmission whose signal cut in and out as Air Force One passed over Cabot Strait between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.” Would that be this CNN transmission? Via the Professor.

Also from that NY Times report

A sense of stunned bewilderment suffused Air Force One and the White House. Only after the defeat did many advisers ask questions about the byzantine politics of the Olympic committee. Valerie Jarrett, the president’s senior adviser and a Chicago booster who persuaded him to make the trip while at the United Nations last week, had repeatedly compared the contest to the Iowa caucuses.

But officials said the administration did not independently verify Chicago’s chances, relying instead on the Chicago 2016 committee assertions that the city had enough support to finish in the top two. Mr. Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ms. Jarrett worked the phones in recent weeks without coming away with a sense of how behind Chicago really was.

Hmm.. And wouldn’t former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, and other “Illinois political weasels”, have been campaigning on this too? Just saying..

  • Greenflag

    Chicago appears to have forgotten what it did’nt have going for it on this occasion 😉

    Apart from Al Capone and the blackguard Blagovitch , Chicago was/is also home to the Milton Friedman school of ‘red raw capitalism ‘ a fact which will not have gone unnoticed in many of the world’s suffering economies and especially among the least developed who are suffering the most from the Friedman inspired destructive capitalist model! .

    Great news for Brazil and South America.

    President Obama may have been pushed into attending at the last minute suspecting as he might that he was better off going and failing than not going and having to listen to the moans of the ‘if only he had put his weight behind the bid ‘

    Behind the scenes at finance and economy central new research out seems to suggest that staging the Olympics is not all that profitable a venture for cities around the world particularly those cities which are already well meshed into the world economy such as Chicago .

    Inadvertently Chicago may have saved itself some taxpayers dollars by failing 😉

  • latcheeco

    Absolutely correct Pete.
    (Can’t believe I said that) This idea was buck stupid. Who in their right mind was going to put the Olympics in a state that had such a gubnatorial fiasco, a state reputed to be among the most corrupt in the U.S.?
    If he was going to be damned either way it went, he should have sent Hilery or Joe instead. He’s usually much savvier than this.

    However, the extreme right wing’s overthetop and very public celebration that an American City didn’t get it, could well backfire and help him out.

  • KieranJ

    ” He’s usually much savvier than this.”

    Don’t kid yourself.

  • Cavehill Man

    Yeah, Chicago getting knocked out at the first round was surprising. Just like when Belfast didn’t even make the shortlist for 2008 Capital of Culture.

  • Brian MacAodh

    “Among the most corrupt”?

    Understatement of the week. 3 of the last 4 governors (assuming Blag goes to jail) served time in prison relating to their activities as governor. My brother in law owns a small business that ships beams to various states, and he said Illinois is unlike any other state he does business in-kickbacks, corrupt officials, the whole nine yards.

    Obama’s cult of personality is fading fast…

    There were some people here (I live in DC)who immediately assumed Chicago was a guarenteed win once Obama went to Copenhagen. Being a good orator can only go so far.

  • 6countyprod

    Thanks for the video. Amazing! The arrogance in the voice of the CNN anchor is palatable.

    But what did the guy expect? Was he not aware that Obama has spent the past 10 months on the world stage criticising America and saying that it is not an exceptional country?

    Obama’s (sometimes plagiarised) words have come back to haunt him!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    On the other hand, Chicago just dodged a huge financial bullet, if past Olympics are any measure. Part of the deal was that the city had to put itself on the hook for 100% of the over-runs, you had the spectacle of White House and Illinois insiders lining up to “dip their beaks” and, frankly, I’ve had pro-Chicago partisans tell me that, watching the actual official pitch that Chicago made stunk in comparison to Madrid’s.

    As for Rio, it will be interesting to see how Lula handles the inevitable crack-down on the poor and down-trodden of Rio’s slums to prepare the city for the Olympics.