OCTOBER 06, 2009
President Obama’s humiliating failure to bring the 2016 Olympics to his hometown of Chicago cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars although the commander-in-chief won’t disclose the exact figures of the now world-famous Copenhagen fiasco.
Once again violating his own promise to run the most open and transparent administration in history, the president refuses to tell Americans how much they dished out for his shameful trip to the Danish capital. One news report estimates that Obama’s airplane ride alone cost nearly $2 million, which doesn’t even include a separate aircraft that transported the First Lady and her entourage days earlier or security for either the president or his beloved wife.
Based on the Pentagon’s $100,000-an-hour cost to fly Air Force One (the government plane that transports the president), Obama’s airfare alone cost more than $1.7 million, according to the report, which points out that a round-trip flight from Washington D.C. to Copenhagen is 17 hours. When you figure security for the president and his wife’s longer stay in Denmark, the tab could feasibly run into millions of dollars.
It turned out to be a huge waste of public funds since Obama’s personal plea—and his stylish wife’s presence—carried no weight with the International Olympic Committee. His impassioned, last-minute pitch was flatly rejected when the IOC essentially slapped the leader of the free world in the face by eliminating Chicago in the first round of voting, before the host city (eventually Rio de Janeiro) was even selected.
Four years and millions of dollars in planning came to an abrupt halt in the Windy City, where local leaders and politically-connected business owners were banking on Obama’s star power to bring the games home.
Stunned media outlets worldwide called it everything from a “stunning humiliation” to a “kick in the pants for the president.” Chicago’s largest newspaper reports this week that the embarrassing finish has created political tension between the White House to Mayor Richard Daley’s office. It’s also launched an effort to remove all the “2016” banners that were confidently plastered throughout the city.
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