OCTOBER 02, 2009
President Obama was humiliated on the world stage when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected his personal, last-minute pitch to host the 2016 Olympics in his adopted hometown of Chicago.
International and domestic media are having a blast digging into the overly confident commander-in-chief, who thought he could whiz into Copenhagen and secure the games—and lucrative contracts that come with such an event—for his buddies back home.
But the IOC flatly rejected what one major U.S. media outlet calls “Obama’s politically risky Olympics gamble,” just hours after Air Force One landed in the Danish capital, granting the bid to Brazil. Chicago was actually eliminated in the first round of voting, before the host country was even selected. It ended four years and millions of dollars in planning for the Windy City and local leaders who were banking on the president’s star power to seal the deal.
Obama was certain that his immense popularity would sway the committee to pick his city over the likes of Madrid, Tokyo and the ultimate winner, Rio de Janeiro. The equally popular First Lady sat by the president’s side as he confidently made his case with an ardent speech. “I urge you to choose Chicago," Obama told the IOC. “And if you do, if we walk this path together, then I promise you this: The city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud.”
Chicago’s dismal showing after Obama’s impassioned eleventh-hour effort is a stunning humiliation for the president, according to an international news report that says a narrow defeat would have been acceptable. The sheer scale of the defeat was a bombshell and a major blow for Obama, however. Nevertheless, the president was greeted as usual like a rock star by the IOC delegates—then humiliated by them.
A major U.S. television network that loves Obama reported the "stunning" and “crushing" news live from Chicago with a top news anchor calling it a "kick in the pants for the president." A local newspaper columnist writes that now the city’s giant “2016” banners are going to seem as anachronistic as Christmas decorations in July.
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