Today at 12:30 ET, the IOC makes it's announcement on who get to shoulder the burden, oops, I mean who gets to have the honor of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. The NYT reports that teams from the four candidate cities — Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Chicago and Tokyo are delivering their final presentations to the 104-member International Olympic Committee and answering every lingering question about the strengths and weaknesses of their bids to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The official estimates for economic growth to Chicago have come in wildly optimistic at around $20 billion, a recent study put forward a much more modest number of less than $4 billion.
Taking time out from the debate on Afghanistan and health care reform, President Obama is in Copenhagen to support Chicago for the bid. Apparently, the lack of Michael Jordan necessitated the appearance. Here's my view: Obama would only make the trip if he knew Chicago was going to get it. Since his HC/Energy/Fin Reg Reform has stalled, the President needs a victory.
Yesterday, I had a chance to meet and talk with George Will at the Chicken Council convention in DC. It was quite a line up as William Kristol from the Weekly Standard and Eugene Robinson from the Washington Post were there as well presenting. I asked this question: Is the President spending too much time on minor issues during a time of momentous decision making on war and the economy?
While you can guess what the conservatives thought, but Mr. Robinson had the more compelling comment: he agreed that the President was over-exposed. He noted that the rating bounces from his appearances are growing less and less. Additionally, Robinson felt that President Obama needed to stamp his feet more and twist arms on his legislative agenda to get it done. Both Krystol and Robinson felt the President was about to make a major decision on what to do with Afghanistan and wondered why he was in Copenhagen.
Being from the Chicago area, I do support the Olympic bid and the growth/jobs it would bring. I do think Mayor Daley and Oprah are doing a fine job of promoting the city and it's capabilities. Since the Chicago Cubs are in our 2nd century of futility, I hope the Olympics distract us enough to forget 101 years of no World Series victory. However, I think I can say that Will, Kristol, and Robinson do hope that the Olympic bid is a not a distraction for our President from doing the business of the nation.