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Coach Obama on his Olympic loss. Now, about the next game...

October 2, 2009 |  2:22 pm

Rio de Janeiro

It's not the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog.

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.

Losers quit when they're tired. Winners quit when they've won.

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.

Losers visualize the penalties of failure, but winners visualize the rewards of success.

We didn't block well, but we made up for it by not tackling well.

One of the things that I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win.

Winners note the score. Losers talk about the effort.

President Obama really had no political choice about getting into the Olympics competition for his adopted hometown. When a Chicago mayor named Daley -- whether Richard J. or Richard M. --  "asks" for your help, you help. If you're a Democrat. Who ever wants the city's future votes. Dead or alive.

As his aides noted, all it cost Obama was a few hours of lost sleep -- plus however many ...

... millions of taxpayer dollars to get his planes and armored entourage to Denmark and back. And a little mud on the face of the international celebrity from being rejected by the entrenched elderly crew on the International Olympic Committee.

It may have been heartfelt but naive for Michelle Obama's speechwriter to think that a passionate plea about what her late father would have liked to happen in her old sad neighborhood would sway the IOC gang trying to take their Olympics business to a glamorous city on a continent like South America for the first time. This is big-time international hardball, not Hyde Park. Or Muscatine.

And if the former state senator from Chicago's South Side had not gone to Copenhagen to pitch for "the most American of American cities," he'd have been royally roasted by the self-professed political patriots for not carrying the American flag into athletic battle. Did we mention fellow Southsider Mayor Daley?

OK, so they don't count votes in Copenhagen the way they do in Chicago.

But let's be honest here. Two weeks on the South Side of Chi-town? Or two weeks in Rio? It wasn't even close. First-round KO.

Look for Obama to express disappointment over the Olympic rejection, great pride in Chicago's long effort, praise for godfather Daley and grace toward the Brazilian winners. And then to quickly change the subject. Trouble is, the next subject is today's stubborn unemployment numbers.

Oh, wait, that's exactly what Obama did. Here's the White House text of what the president said upon his return without the coveted trophy.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Remarks by President Obama on losing the Chicago Olympic bid

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. One of the things that I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win. 

And so although I wish that we had come back with better news from Copenhagen, I could not be prouder of my hometown of Chicago, the volunteers who were involved, Mayor Daley, the delegation and the American people for the extraordinary bid that we put forward.

I do want to congratulate Rio de Janeiro and the nation of Brazil for winning the 2016 Olympics. I think this is a truly historic event, as these will be the first Olympic Games ever to be held in South America. And as neighbors in the Americas, as friends to the Brazilian people, we welcome this extraordinary sign of progress, and the fact that the 2016 Games will be in the Americas.

I had a chance to talk to President Lula and gave him a hearty congratulations and told him that our athletes will see him on the field of competition in 2016.

Again, I want to thank everybody who worked so hard to put America’s bid together -- not just Mayor Daley and the delegation, Pat Ryan, but most especially the thousands of Chicagoans who volunteered over these past few years. They put in their heart and soul into this bid. I have no doubt that it was the strongest bid possible, and I'm proud that I was able to come in and help make that case in person.

I believe it's always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America and invite the world to come see what we're all about. And we obviously would have been eager to host these Games, but as I said, this nation and our athletes are still very much excited to compete in 2016. And we once again want to say how much we are committed to the Olympic spirit, which I think represents some of the best of humanity.

I also want to say a few words about the unemployment numbers that came out today. As I've said before, my principle focus each and every day, as well as the principle focus of my economic team, is putting our nation back on the path to prosperity. Since the period last winter when we were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month, we've certainly made some progress on this front.  But today’s job report is a sobering reminder that progress comes in fits and starts -- and that we're going to need to grind out this recovery step by step.

From the moment I took office, I’ve made the point that employment is often the last thing to come back after a recession. That's what history shows us. But our task is to do everything we can possibly do to accelerate that process. And I want to let every single American know that I will not let up until those who are seeking work can find work; until businesses that are seeking credit are able to get credit and thrive; until all responsible homeowners can stay in their homes.

That's our ultimate goal, and it’s one that we are working every single day here in the White House to accomplish -- whether it involves implementing the Recovery Act that's already helped to bring back America from the brink of a much worse situation or lowering the cost of health care for businesses and families. And that's why I’m working closely with my economic advisors to explore any and all additional options and measures that we might take to promote job creation.

Whenever I see statistics like the one we saw today, my mind turns to the people behind them -- honest, decent Americans who want nothing more than the opportunity to contribute to their country and help build a better future for themselves and their families. 

And building a 21st century economy that offers this opportunity -- an economy where folks can receive the skills and education they need to compete for the jobs of the future -- will not happen overnight. But we will build it.  Of that I am both confident and determined.  And on behalf of every American, I will continue in that effort each and every day for as long as I am in this White House. Thank you very much, everybody.   ###

(UPDATE: Reaction from Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee:

While I am disappointed with the IOC's decision, I look forward to the president returning stateside so that he can refocus his efforts on the growing unemployment crisis that was highlighted by today’s monthly jobs report. 

Our country needs the president’s undivided attention on the urgent issues facing American families today: rising unemployment, soaring health care costs, winning the war in Afghanistan and dealing with Iran’s nuclear threat.

Photo: Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Getty Images

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