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Tuesday's question of the day: Should President Obama lobby to bring the Olympics to the U.S.?

September 29, 2009 | 12:18 pm

Fabforum

Reporters from the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they are wrong.

Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times

International Olympic Committee members have one common currency: power. The sight of President Obama, arguably the most powerful political leader in the world, lobbying for the 2016 Games to be awarded to Chicago will have a persuasive effect on those who will vote Friday.
With the world still engulfed in economic woes and Iran testing nuclear weapons, Obama’s trip to Copenhagen seems frivolous and beneath the dignity of the office. But he will be there only about 24 hours, and helping bring the Olympics to the U.S., in the state he represented, makes sense because the Games would have economic and emotional benefits for Chicago and the state of Illinois.
The Olympics still draw us together to marvel at the potential of what we can achieve and the nobility of making that effort, even if it doesn't end with a gold medal. Bringing the Olympics to Chicago is worthy of a day of Obama’s time. It's an investment in hope and the human spirit.

David Teel, Newport News (Va.) Daily Press:

Amending the presidential oath to include lobbying for American locales loopy enough to want the Olympics seems unnecessary, though debate on the addition might be more enlightening than the shouting matches over health care. Hey, if President Green Jobs wants to burn a few hundred gallons of fuel jetting to and from Copenhagen to massage the International Olympic Committee, have at it. Might his efforts sway enough votes to Chicago? Given the IOC’s colorful and corrupt history, it’s difficult to handicap. Plus, Rio de Janeiro rates a sentimental favorite — Madrid and Tokyo are longshots — because South America has never hosted the Games. Still, a personal appearance from the First Couple is probably more helpful than video from the ’68 Democratic Convention or any Cubs season of the last century. Were I in charge, however, Chicago’s delegation this week would have included the Windy City’s most famous gold-medalist: Michael Jordan.

Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

With everything on President Obama’s desk – the health care debate, rising unemployment, unrest in the Middle East – shouldn’t Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid be low on the list of Oval Office priorities? Yet, Obama is following the lead of other world leaders who added some star power to meetings with the IOC.
Wait -- isn’t that why Oprah is going to Denmark? Chicago has a group of heavy hitters meeting with the selection committee, most notably The Queen of Talk and First Lady Michelle Obama.
We’re not sure Leader of the Free World needs to supplement the pitch, especially since his trip adds the perception that he’s taking his eyes off some more important balls. And we all assume Obama’s presence will cinch the bid for Chicago. If not, this will be seen as a political blunder.

Photo: President Obama. Credit: Charles Dharapak / AP.

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