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No hard feelings over Copenhagen: Obama sends B team Biden to Canada's Vancouver Olympics

February 8, 2010 |  1:24 am

Democrat vice president Joe Biden boarding Air Force Two for somewhere

Not that there's any hard feelings in the Obama White House toward the International Olympic Committee.

All the international conglomerate of elderly delegates did was allow Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama to fly the 4,000 miles from Washington to Copenhagen last fall to pitch the 2016 Summer Olympics bid by Chicago and listen politely to the glamorous couple and then unceremoniously dump the Windy City on the opening vote before the first pair even got home.

That's not the Chicago way. Not how things usually go for Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Democratic political machine that is unaccustomed to losing and totally accustomed to getting however many votes it needs for whatever it wants from wherever it can, dead or alive.

This machine that allowed Obama to thrive as long as he made no local waves has run everything in Chicago for longeVancouver Canada 2010 Winter Olympics logor than most of those Olympic geezers have been alive. Good thing the IOC won't be needing any building permits, health inspections or garbage pickups there anytime soon.

It might encounter some real problems. If you catch our drift.

As one result of that civic rejection, the American president, who could fly up to Boston on a moment's notice in a hopeless bid to salvage one U.S. Senate race, cannot possibly fit into his impossibly important schedule a visit to the IOC's 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics to send off hundreds of U.S. athletes.

The Winter Games open this week a few miles north of Washington state. Just too far to go and too much to do changing the way Washington works, you understand. So that it's more Chicago-like.

So Obama is sending in the second string for Friday's opening ceremonies, Delaware's Joe "I Rode Amtrak for Years Without a Crash" Biden.

Of course, to avoid wasting any trip, after a Wednesday evening fundraiser in Washington on his way to represent the United States in Vancouver, Biden will squeeze in a fundraiser for Washington Democrat Sen. Patty Murray.

And for the closing ceremonies, it's even worse. The White House is dispatching whatever string Homeland Security Secy. Janet "The System Worked" Napolitano is.

Too bad.

The Obamas will miss out on seeing arguably North America's most beautiful city. And their absence will be taken quietly as another snub by the United States' closest, friendliest, most important neighbor -- or neighbour, if you're reading this north of the border.

This is Canada's biggest moment on the world stage in years. And its partner in the world's largest bilateral economic relationship sends in the same gaffe-prone gabber who was assigned the secondary chore of briefing Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Obama's Afghan surge speech last fall.

While the Main Man briefed the world's really important leaders himself.

For all that, the judges would probably give the administration a 1.2.

(UPDATE, Feb. 11`: Here is the president's complete announced Friday schedule, as provided by the White House, that is so crammed he was unable to attend the Olympic opening: "In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing, the Economic Daily Briefing, and meet with senior advisors in the Oval Office. These meetings are closed press."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Getty Images (file).

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