Obama Uses Star Power to Court Chicago Olympic Bid

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    President Barack Obama is going for the gold.

    President Barack Obama is going for the gold.

    The White House has taken on a significant role in courting Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid -- and has more closely aligned itself and President Barack Obama with an Olympic proposal than any previous administration, Politico reported.

    Though the initiative is not officially directed by the White House, the administration is using Obama's positive image abroad as a marketing tool to bring the Games to Chicago, one of a handful of cities -- including Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo -- that are vying for the Games, according to Politico.

    "Without Obama in the White House, I would say there would be no chance whatsoever for the U.S. winning," Canadian IOC member Dick Pound told Politico. "The United States is the only country in this race that has had an absolutely extraordinary transformational experience with the election of Obama, which weighs very heavily in its favor."

    Chicago-backers have relied on Obama's shift away from the unpopular global Bush policies with slogans like "Reaching for a Better World" and then "let friendship shine" -- and many view the president as the driving force behind the Chicago proposal, the site reported. 

    Obama has two videos showing support for the bid -- one for the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committee in Istanbul and a second shown to IOC members during a Chicago tour last month.

    "As president-elect, I see the Olympics and Paralympics Games as an opportunity for our nation to reach out, welcome the world to our shores and strengthen our friendships across the globe," Obama said in the Istanbul video, released three weeks before the election. 

    Top adviser Valerie Jarrett is heading the efforts to bring the Olympics to Chicago, which one official described as "an important priority for the administration."