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Olympics Now A Critical Obama Priority, Special Olympic Promise Not So Much

President Obama is on his way to Copenhagen to add support for Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Just last week Obama said he wouldn't make the trip to Copenhagen, citing his need to press for health care reform legislation instead. White House officials mentioned the economic benefits the U.S. would receive from a winning Olympics bid in explaining the president's sudden change of heart.

First Lady Michelle Obama was originally slated to represent Chicago before the IOC but will now share the duties with her husband.

The city's bid is competing with bids from Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Spain and Tokyo, and the heads of state from Brazil, Spain and Japan are appearing in person to make their countries' pitch.

Indeed, Curt Hamakawa, director of the Center for International Sport Business at Western New England College in Massachusetts, said Chicago would likely lose the bid if Obama had chosen not to go.

"For the president not to attend would send a signal, and it would not be helpful to Chicago's bid. Almost certainly it would result in Chicago not having a chance," Hamakawa said, adding that if Obama had stayed home and Chicago wasn't selected, "Republicans would have been crabbing that he didn't do enough."

Count me among those who aren't really bothered by Obama going to support the bid. There's a lot of money to be made hosting the games, and I'd like to see the games back in the U.S.

What really chaps my ass is that Obama was really interested in atoning for his Special Olympics gaffe on the old Tonight Show in May. From The New York Daily News:

Obama also called [Special Olympics Chairman Tim] Shriver to apologize before the program aired. On ABC Friday morning, Shriver discussed the phone call.

"He expressed his disappointment and he apologized, I think, in a way that was very moving," Shriver said.

"He expressed that he did not intend to humiliate this population, certainly didn't want to embarrass or give anybody any more reason for pain."

Shriver said Obama told him he was interested in becoming more involved in the Special Olympics.

Obama "said he was a fan of the movement and, I think, importantly said he's ready to have some of our athletes over the White House to bowl, or play basketball or help him improve his score," Shriver explained.

In a statement issued Friday morning, Shriver called on the President to consider hiring a
Special Olympics athlete to work in the White House. "In so doing, he could help end misconceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and demonstrate their dignity and value to the world," Shriver said.

As the parent of children involved in Special Olympics, I know that President Obama has not made good on his promise.

How about it President Obama?


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Comments (13)

Give $4 billion to Daley an... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

Give $4 billion to Daley and Stroger in the wake of Blago in a severe recession that isnt ending anytime soon? Look at what they did with the Millennium Park project. Not to take away from your point Kevin, but no one has made money from these things, quite the contrary. It's the last thing we need right now especially in the wrong hands.

You are forgetting that mos... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

You are forgetting that most of the land that would be condemned and / or purchased using Eminent Domain are slums or low cost housing owned by "not-for-profit" developers who Obama helped to get that land in the first place. Those people will get HUGE returns on that worthless land when they buy it up and build the Olympic facilities in its place. On top of that His home is located about 3 blocks from the proposed Olympic site meaning his land value will be going up.

Oh and many Chicagoans don't want the olympics anyway, citing old disused and dilapidated builings and structures left behind in other cities and the fact that it might bring short term money but wost more in the long run. Besides the jobs building the infrascructure Olympics are always a losing game unless you are only using them to promote your alry tourist destination city.
In short; Its chicago politics on a national level.
In shorter; Dirty

Has any city "made millions... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Has any city "made millions" off the Olympics? Probably not, but they have to keep that myth going in order to rope in the next sucker to hold the event.

"There's a lot of money to ... (Below threshold)
Ray K.:

"There's a lot of money to be made hosting the games"

Now that's just silly.

Reminds me of Splash Kenned... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Reminds me of Splash Kennedy's "Big Dig". It will ONLY cost $2.4 BILLION and help "union only jobs". Well when Teddy's Pit is finally paid off in 2034, the cost will have been around $24.+ BILLION.

Can you imagine what the Daly Machine will be able to do with the Olympics? I'd check out WHO owns all that "vacant" land.

Our tax dollars will flood ... (Below threshold)
Trajan:

Our tax dollars will flood the coffers of
Daley, Jarret and others of the ChiTown
mafia. It will be the largest cash grab
ever by city pols in our history. NO inves-
tigations will ensue. Holder and Obama will
be mute. The LeftMedia will demand no
accounting. Chicago Dems will be rolling
in personal dough and will be able to
cement their political power for another
century.

Doesn't he have more import... (Below threshold)
mag:

Doesn't he have more important things to do? But this is right up his alley. Selling Chicago like he sold himself comes easy to him and it is his best trait. Throwing the shit.
Taking care of the country's economy, protecting us from harm, standing up to our ememies...that is just NOT his thing.

Actually Obama is also lobb... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Actually Obama is also lobbying for the committee to add a new sport. Beat The Honor Student to Death. I do know the committee has become political so they might give it to Obama so he can have something to brag on. Not much else, is there? ww

Maybe, if we can get the Af... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

Maybe, if we can get the Afghans to field an olympic team, we can get Obama to concentrate on something important for a change.

If you can fake sincerity, ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

If you can fake sincerity, you can fake anything.

Given the unfair flaming an... (Below threshold)
Victory is Ours:

Given the unfair flaming and piling on that Obama received after his gaffe I wouldn't be surprised to see him avoiding this issue completely.

With headlines like "Olympics Now A Critical Obama Priority, Special Olympic Promise Not So Much", which use the fact that he hasn't done anything yet as an excuse to flame him with a "you don't care about special kids" torch, it's obvious that the "special kids" community is hostile.

After all - I don't see Sarah Palin stepping up to the plate and carrying this banner forward - and I also don't see you lambasting her for it.

But I'm sure President Bush was regularly roasted on this blog because he didn't do enough for special kids also.

Or not.

Vic

"In so doing, he could help... (Below threshold)
914:

"In so doing, he could help end misconceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities."

He's referring to You VIC.

Vic. Try making a point wit... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

Vic. Try making a point without typing B U S H. Bet you cant do it.




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