Duncan to Copenhagen for Chicago Olympic Bid
Updated 4:15 p.m. ET
Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join first lady Michelle Obama and White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week in support of Chicago's 2016 Summer Olympics bid as the White House left open the door that they may be joined by President Obama.
Duncan, a Chicago native, served as the Windy City's schools chief before joining the Obama administration earlier this year.
Obama, Jarrett and Duncan will be joined by Oprah Winfrey and other Chicago luminaries at the 121st International Olympic Committee Session that will elect the 2016 host city. Officials will choose between Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
President Obama could also possibly make a quick day trip to Copenhagen, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday afternoon. He publicly confirmed earlier news reports that a White House advance team was sent to Denmark in case the president decides to join the American delegation.
"We wanted to ensure that if he went -- if he could go, we were ready. And that's the precaution we've taken," Gibbs said during a press briefing aboard Air Force One from New York en route to the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh.
While a delegation of the first lady, a senior White House official, the education secretary and an internationally-acclaimed talk show host might be enough to impress some Olympic officials, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will travel to Copenhagen to make Rio's pitch in person and Spanish King Juan Carlos is also expected to show up on Madrid's behalf.
A presidential visit might help seal the deal: Back in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Guatemala to help Sochi, Russia, secure the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
| September 24, 2009; 12:51 PM ET
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