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Obama Fights the Good Fight

By Jo-Ann Armao

President Obama is soon off to Denmark in a bid to convince Olympic organizers to hold the 2016 world games in his hometown of Chicago. If some of the pundits are right, he has as much chance of getting his way as he had in discouraging New York Governor David Paterson from seeking a return to office or in cajoling Richmond mayor and former Virginia governor Doug Wilder to get behind Democrat Creigh Deeds’ campaign for governor. As the Post’s Peter Slevin observed, the president is letting his ability to woo the Olympics organizers become a test of his political prowess, with implications for far weightier issues such as health-care reform or Iran policy. Still, I find myself -- somewhat surprisingly -- cheering the president for his willingness to, at the very least, fight the good fight. After all, isn’t it one of life’s enduring lessons -- one we drill into our children -- that it’s better to try and fail, than not to try at all?

No one, for example, can really dispute that the Democratic party -- of which Obama is the head -- would be far better off politically if the weakened (not to mention ineffective) Paterson cleared the way for a stronger candidate. Similarly, in Virginia, the party -- and the president himself -- has a lot riding on the outcome of a race that to a large extent has become a mini-referendum on where Democrats are taking the country. By this reckoning, the president couldn’t just sit on his hands; he had to get involved. Ditto his efforts, the first for an American president, to try to snare the Olympics. As spokesman Robert Gibbs noted, “Surely it’s within the purview of the president to root for America.”

There’s no question that it ultimately would help the president’s causes if he showed more success. Also, one has to wish -- as Benjamin Wittes does in a Post op-ed piece today on Guantanamo detainees -- that Obama would bring his same willingness to fight the good fight to a range of issues other than the locale of the summer games. Here’s hoping he brings home the gold from Copenhagen. But if he doesn't, let's not get on his case for getting into the game.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | September 29, 2009; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Comments

Ms. Armao,

May I suggest you read Mr. Cohen's column in today's Post for a more realistic view of what America expects Mr. Obama to be doing with his time?

Posted by: rcagle343 | September 29, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

don't think it's gonna do anything for obama's popularity abroad if the rock star wins the olympics for the most violent city in the US. Just another example of American arrogance. The last games in the US in Atlanta were a travesty of the Olympic Spirit. Fairness demands that Brazil gets South America's first chance to host the games.

Posted by: gmallet0709 | September 29, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord!!! Don't you realize that going on Letterman and flying to Copenhagen to "sell" the Olympics demeans the presidency? And I'm sure Virginia voters do not want him sticking his nose into their politics no more than New Yorkers do (see the Quinnipac polling data). How much is this about Obama's ego rather than "rooting" for America?

Posted by: wood371 | September 29, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Is this not the same man that said there were more pressing issues for him to consider than an ACORN investigation? Denmark is a pressing issue? To whom? Hmmm....

Posted by: inmanorj | September 29, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Bull! At some point, Obama has to realize that he has a job with an office and the work is there, not running around the country, and the world, campaigning. This just shows that this is all Obama knows and wants to do -- campaign. As W said, this job is hard! Obama has to stop running away from it and get down to some work. The partying should have stopped some time ago! He can't keep ignoring the real work.

Posted by: mihalick | September 29, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Why is the President of all the United States spending tax dollars to boost his own "adopted" city? Will the unemployed people in Detroit, Philadelphia or Cleveland gain from this? If he wants to be the mayor of Chicago, or the Governor of Illinois, then resign as President and run for these offices. Chicago does not need and certainly cannot afford to host the Olympics. Or will the taxpayers fund this as well? In any case, he will be out of the White House by then, so let's hope Oprah can get him good tickets.

Posted by: CubsFan | September 29, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Question - What else is he doing while he is Denmark? Who else will he be meeting with?

Posted by: stanassc | September 29, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

“Surely it’s within the purview of the president to root for America.”

Indeed it is.

Go USA!!

Posted by: DROSE1 | September 29, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why I continue reading the comments section of any online article, it truly is a place for random idiotic and igorant thoughts without any real insight or intelligent analysis. The party line regurgition of whatever the person digested from their chosen party spokesperson is predictable and boring. I resolve to never read this BS again, it's a complete waste of time. So, if you are still reading, here are my comments, which will never happen again.
1st: Olympics, good or bad to have in the US? Depends on who you believe but I would say good, run properly they make money.
2nd: Obama, helpful or not helpful for bringing the Olympics to the US? How could it hurt, he should go, if it's good for US (Chicago is in the US so just because it's Chicago specific why should that matter?)
3rd: Olympics, worthy of a President's time? Apparently, all the other heads of state and royalty from the other countries are going. Why go thru all the efforts to get the Olympics go to waste and leave your big guns at home?

Posted by: YNotLegalize | September 29, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

In response to the question: What else is he doing while he is Denmark? Who else will he be meeting with? Perhaps he will meet with representatives from France and Poland on granting a Presidential pardon to Roman Polanski. Afterall if we are going to marginalize the office of the President of the United States, at least he should be able to come home with a victory.

Posted by: Ret-Coastie | September 29, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

How many folks complaining about this will be trying to get tickets or avidly watching the Games if they come to Chicago? C'mon, it would be great to have the Olympics here. Heads of State being involved in the final presentation is pretty much standard, both Putin and Blair were integral to Russia and Great Britain getting the 2012 Games. The President will be out of the country for 24 hours, I don't think that is going to materially affect the health care debate, Afghanistan, Iran etc.

Chicago can certainly afford the games, given the city government won't be paying for it - read the bid.

Oh, and Chicago is the most violent city in the U.S.? Sorry, not even remotely true, and even more ridiculous if you're using crime as a measuring stick to promote Rio over Chicago. Have you been to Rio?

Posted by: SoCal_Distortion | September 29, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

DON"T BLANME HIM? Are you out of your mind? Have you totally lost any sense of propriety. He has real problems to solve and deal with. Is it the problems are too tough for him or is he such a narcissist that its more important for him to make an appearance than deal with the country's problems. Blame him for going? HELL YEAH, no matter the result, its not going to improve unemployment, its not going to help with the financial crisis, its not going to help with health care, the Iranians, Afghanistan, rotten public schools and so many other important issues.

Have a nice photo-op for your ego Mr. President, you might as well stay there too, you ain't doing anything for us, just more harm that good!!!!!

Posted by: digitelm | September 29, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Good grief...the Olympics (Summer and Winter) have been held in the United States FOUR times in the last 50 years.

Meanwhile, the Olympics have never been held in South America or Africa.

Rio 2016!

Posted by: gipper01 | September 29, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I do resent this change of heart when he said earlier he had other matters to attend to but now those matters - the health care debate - seem to be going well now????? How about Afghanistan? Is it true that in these economic times I read somewhere that security for the Chicago Olympics will be covered by the Federal Budget - meaning ALL taxpayers money? Security has to be one of the most expensive costs of holding an olympics when it comes down to it. And is his ego so inflated that he does not trust his own First Lady and closest confidant Jarrett to be a big enough presence without him? It is already in the news the comments from Michelle that "we will take no prisoners". Sorry, but I personally feel this isn't about getting the Olympics but about him, and his need for being in the news with anything and everything. And to state a thought of mine - if Chicago doesn't get it, how many democrats will be posting in the future that the IOC must be racist?

Posted by: justmyvoice | September 29, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama is setting himself up for failure! Rio is the first choice and Obama's credibility will be bruised without criticism!!

No President has ever begged for the Olympics before - at least in person!

He shouldn't be there, because it looks bad when there are so many important issues and we have troops fighting as he wastes away his valuable time! And, has apparent fun!

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | September 29, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

If the Olympic Organizers don't choose Chicago, it won't be seen as a 'No' to Chicago, or to the U.S.A. But it might be portrayed in the press as being a 'No' to Barack Obama. I don't think the Olympic Organizers have the guts to risk that sort of negative press.

Thus other, perhaps more worthy choices (i.e. Rio?) will get jilted.

Posted by: MDLaxer | September 29, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

GOP and Right Wing Media:
Teflon coated Regan could do NO WRONG - even trickle down rob from the poor give to the ultra rich, and Iran-Contra.
Obama . . . . OBVIOUSLY, Damn_d if he does, AND Damn_d if he don't.

Posted by: lufrank1 | September 29, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

From the pundits point of view, the main value of the President's trip is the opportunity to fill some space. The commentary that I have seen has given a wide range of estimates on Chicago's chances. They look pretty good to me. Given that all of the other contenders will be reperented by heads of state and that both Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin made trips to push their country's successful bids, there is little justification to criticize the President. Whatever the outcome of this particular event, the pundits will move rapidly to the next one with no change in their attitudes towards the President. Nevertheless, the Chicago delegation will project a good image of America to the world and the President can continue his regular work on his plane with little disruption. Then there is the potential contribution to the environment. If Chicago wins, the President (or Mr. Obama should he no longer be in office) can volunteer not to waste an hotel room and even to make the sacrifice of walking to main venue.

Posted by: dnjake | September 29, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

inmanorj wrote:
“Is this not the same man that said there were more pressing issues for him to consider than an ACORN investigation? Denmark is a pressing issue? To whom? Hmmm....”
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes; this is the same man that said that there were more pressing issues, than an ACORN investigation. No; Demark isn’t a pressing issue. Why? Simply because it’s not an “issue” at all! This is one of Obama’s many interests, and you cannot damn the man for having interests/hobbies. Would you rather have a President whose interests resides in the taste of every alcohol possible (former President)? Why don’t you grow up? Obama is a man with interests...just like everyone else.

Posted by: BasicInstinct | September 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"Still, I find myself -- somewhat surprisingly -- cheering the president for his willingness to, at the very least, fight the good fight."

It would be a shock to my system to find you not CHEERING!

Ho-rah for Obama from another WP columnist. How unique.

Whether he wins or not is not my concern, but his predilection to be on the road and flying hither and yon instead of "doing the people's business".

We didn't elect him to be an American Idol and PR President to the world; we elected to put the economy in order, defend American and be at his nice historic White House office working.

Yeah, yeah, I know a "President can work anywhere", but not on this crap.

It takes time to put your imprint on a speech, have some rehearsal, even if minor, fly to these endless meetings, wait your turn, give the speech, answer questions, travel back and repeat and repeat.

He should be working 24/7 focusing on the Afghanistan War and the floundering US Economy.

Send Michelle, send Biden, send his dog, but start taking time to talk to your Generals and those with other points of view. Start reading, start listening and stay in the Capital.

Maybe we need a Constitutional Amendment that the President must spend at least 50% of his time in the White House.

Posted by: jgfox39 | September 29, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

You know what?

My country wants the Olympics. And I want my President there helping to make it happen.

I don't care who he is...

Posted by: hamptontonyc | September 29, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Question - What else is he doing while he is Denmark? Who else will he be meeting with?"

Ewwwww... the scandle...
Get a life tea-bagger.

Go Chicago 2016 !

Posted by: PulSamsara | September 29, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Still, I find myself -- somewhat surprisingly -- cheering the president for his willingness to, at the very least, fight the good fight."

It would be a shock to my system to find you not CHEERING!

Ho-rah for Obama from another WP columnist. How unique.

Whether he wins or not is not my concern, but his predilection to be on the road and flying hither and yon instead of "doing the people's business".

We didn't elect him to be an American Idol and PR President to the world; we elected to put the economy in order, defend American and be at his nice historic White House office working.

Yeah, yeah, I know a "President can work anywhere", but not on this crap.

It takes time to put your imprint on a speech, have some rehearsal, even if minor, fly to these endless meetings, wait your turn, give the speech, answer questions, travel back and repeat and repeat.

He should be working 24/7 focusing on the Afghanistan War and the floundering US Economy.

Send Michelle, send Biden, send his dog, but start taking time to talk to your Generals and those with other points of view. Start reading, start listening and stay in the Capital.

Maybe we need a Constitutional Amendment that the President must spend at least 50% of his time in the White House.

Posted by: jgfox39 | September 29, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Remember how President obozo made disparaging remarks about handicapped people on the Tonight Show.

The president had been making an attempt at self-deprecating humor in his appearance on Jay Leno's show by saying that a recent 129 he scored in the White House bowling alley had been "like Special Olympics, or something."

Now, instead of taking care of country, he is trying to get the Olympics for his hometown buddies in Chicago. Hope and Change?

mmm mmm mmm barack hussein obozo

Posted by: charlietuna666 | September 29, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Why can't the believers in Global warming stay at home and do this via video conferencing?

Posted by: mike83631 | September 29, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

We apparently do not have enough debt at this time. Google Olympics and debt. Every nation that has hosted this or are currently planning to host have seen only debt. If Obama is successful who will pay for this boondoggle? We the People will take it up the colon. Enough spending. Fix the economy and jobs stupid.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | September 29, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

When are "we the people" going to come to terms with the fact that the actions of our President are not to be interpreted literally? I bet my hat on Obama having more of an agenda than going to Copenhagen just to fight for the US/Chicago becoming the 2016 Olympic Host. If there is anything that Obama's campaign taught us, its that this shrewd man and his team, are working out long-term agendas while taking advantage of short-term circumstances. Obama will spend 30 minutes of his time in Denmark on the 2016 Olympics. The rest of time, he'll be talking head-to-head with key players on the International front, working with (as opposed to dictating) our allies to figure out what to do next with respect to Iran, AkPak and Iraq. Its a perfect indescrete opportunity to promote our own foreign policy agendas. As for health care - go talk, keep talking to your senators and representatives! It's up to us to set that stage.

Posted by: thinkaboutit11 | September 29, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

So Obama's going to Kobenhaven (the proper spelling for the capital of Denmark)and lobby for the 2016 games. I hope he's succesful. It will start making an impact on the economy of Chicago and Madison (WI) right away with planning meetings, hotel construction, the cleaning up of the streets, a new stadium (maybe), and so on. Not in seven years but in one or two. Athens worked for 7 years just to get to light the torch back in 2000 or 2004. London got the gig when John Blair (you remember him - ex British Prime Minister) lobbied for the games. Brasil's (the proper way to spell Brazil) president is talking athe Kobenhaven today, so it's quite proper for a nation's leader to lobby for the games. So don't give me that c__p about staying in Washington to take care of the country's business. He's doing just that! And maybe, just maybe, he will talk to Denmark's Health Minister. After all, Denmark's got "socialized" medicine and a much longer life span than the US.

Posted by: hobsry7350 | September 29, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I was on the Olympic committee here in NYC. We made a hard press but lost out. The reason we made such a press is that the Olympics would've been worth ~ $1.15B to NYC/NYS.

That's a ton of jobs.

Obama's doing the right thing. I think if he had the option everyday to spend 16 hrs to directly generate 50,000 jobs, he'd be derelict to do anything else.

Posted by: slowpoke132 | September 29, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

The good fight???

The one he spent $1.4 million on to pursue being as OPAQUE as Satan hisself instead of the OPENNESS promised during his campaign???

Posted by: Archarito | September 29, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Presidents, like all of us , get credit for DOING, not trying. Like Good intentions and all that. I'm still waiting for jobs and an end to the recession.

Posted by: veritas7 | September 29, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I am all for Obama bringing the Games to the USA! It's good for all of us. Salt Lake City and Atlanta both profited from the Games, and the Summer Games in particular is a giant regional jobs producer. GO USA !! {the only country that DOESNT GET ANY GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR ITS OLYMPIANS!}

Also, I hate to be political about an issue that is about our nation, not about political parties, but it cracks me up to see the outrage over Obama sleeping one night on a plane instead of the White House by these same people who watched Bush go fishing and golfing in Kenebunkport,and "clearing brush" in Crawford for weeks on end!

Posted by: psych123 | September 29, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

"...run properly they [the Olymics] make money."
Will Obama ask Mitt Romney to run 'em again?
Anyway,this is the only thing he's done so far that I'm down with, so GO OBAMA! Hmm, hmm, hmm!
BTW, he's too smart to risk political capital on this. He must have gotten the inside word: if he asks in person, he gets. I'll be shocked if I'm wrong about that(although it wouldn't be the first time).

Posted by: Jimeo722 | September 29, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Hmm "Fighting the good" should not involve spendling wasting millions of taxpayer dollars to jet all the way to Denmark to lobby and beg the notoriously corrupt IOC on behalf of the notoriously corrupt city of Chicago. Is this nuts or what?

Meanwhile crises are flaring up everywhere, from the economy, Iran, Afganistan, Honduras, Earthquakes, health bills and Obama takes time out to hustle a bunch of sleazebags in IOC.

Google Olympic Corruption and the hits are endless with references to Bejing, Sarajevo, Barcelona, Sydney, Utah, Atlanta, London, etc. etc.

Anybody want to put down bets on the cost overruns, padded payrolls, insider self-dealing, fraudulent contracts. security hassles etc that will proliferate if Chicago "wins" the bid? And how much will the US taxpayer have to cough up for son of Big Dig?

Posted by: NAuchi | September 30, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

The President is Right to involve himself in Garnering the 2016 Olympics,if he's Successful,it will surely bring Commerce to the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois and Neighboring State Indiana.

As Washington Spokesman Robert Gibbs pointed out, yesterday, maybe Michael Steele would be Happiest, Traveling to Brazil or Spain in 2016, Stimulating another Nations Economy ?

Whether President Obama Fails or Suuceeds, No Harm in the Attempt.

Our Economy needs this Boost.

Lastly, Nothing he does will Ever Satisfy his Antagonist, they simply want him to Fail, their in 2012 Mode and he's been President all of [10 Months]

Very Sad Indeed.

I Cheer for My President, I'm an American before all else.

As a N.C. Republican Congressman Walter Jones said a Few Weeks ago and I agree with him without Reservation or Hesitation, When he said the Following regarding The Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh and his Followers...

"I don't like what I'm seeing in many circles," said Jones. "I do not like this resentment. I mean, the way I look at this, Mr. Obama is our president and I want him to do well. I'm an American Citizen First."

"If some of your constituents, good solid conservatives call you up and say, 'Rush Limbaugh says you're wimping out on the party,' or on the cause ?" asked Greenfield.

"Well, I serve God, not Rush Limbaugh," Jones replied.

Good Man & Good American

America First, No Matter the Political Persuasion or Party, America First and Foremost.

Posted by: omaarsblade | September 30, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

The Bad Economy:

1.It took Decades of Very Bad Wall Street Practice. Bad Practices that are still being used on wall Street today, as a matter of fact, to Ruin this Nation.

2. Two 8 Year Wars at a Cost 10-20 Billion Dollars per Month with Interest, Borrowed from Communist-Socialist China, Republicans call it [Generational Theft-Generational Debt] but seem to be Happy as Heck about this Long Term Generational Theft & Debt ?

3. Bailouts, of AIG, Bear-Sterns, Morgan-Stanley, Fannie-Freddie Mae & The Auto Industry, all Happened under George W. Bush & Dick Cheney, yet a Certain Group, Omit these Glaring Facts, yet they Blame President Obama, you figure this out ?

4. Bush-Cheney gave U.S. Manufacturing Big & Corporate America, Big Incentives to Dump the American Worker for China,Brazil,Canada, Mexico and Europe, yet now act as if America will Rebound in Less than 1 Year, when it took Big Spending Bush-Cheney 8 Years to Ruin this Great Nation.

THINK

Posted by: omaarsblade | September 30, 2009 5:57 AM | Report abuse

All you people getting on the President's case about supporting Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid should back off. What is not widely being included in criticsism of Mr. Obama's support in this matter is that all the heads of state of the other 2016 finalist nations are heading to Copenhagen to do the same. Yes, Spain's King Juan Carlos will be backing Madrid's bid, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva will be part of the Rio team, and newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama who will be supporting Tokyo. The funny part of all this, is that if Mr. Obama wasn't in Copenhagen to show his support, the criticsism would go something like, "Obama is so anti-American, he can't even get off his butt to show some support for our 2016 Olympic bid, all the other heads of state will be there.". Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

Posted by: rcupps | September 30, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

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