Obama & Chicago 2016

The stars need to keep aligning

Any president would have an interest in helping an American city win an Olympic bid. But none has been as closely associated with an Olympic proposal as Obama, and the emerging effort by the White House is unusually pointed in its attempt to wrap the campaign around the president and his appealing image abroad — a strategy veteran Olympics watchers say is paying dividends and could result in an enormous hometown farewell party if Obama wins a second term. 

“Without Obama in the White House, I would say there would be no chance whatsoever for the U.S. winning,” said Canadian IOC member Dick Pound. […]

According to some veteran observers and international participants in the Olympic site selection process, Obama is viewed internationally as the engine driving the Chicago bid. 

“Everybody who follows the bids is talking about the Obama factor,” said Robert Livingstone, an expert in the closely watched but opaque Olympic bid business who runs the influential website GamesBids.com. “It’s the biggest issue of the whole campaign.” […]

In their appeals to the International Olympic Committee, Chicago boosters have leaned heavily on the symbolism of an Obama-led shift away from the globally unpopular policies of the Bush administration — the Chicago 2016 committee originally featured the slogan “Reaching for a Better World,” followed by “let friendship shine.” 

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