Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama Admin Pounding Dick (and Other IOC Members) to Secure 2016 Chicago Games

Illustration: Matt Wuerker/Politico

It's no secret that President Obama "is playing an unprecedented role in the bid to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago." He has gone so far as to assign top adviser Valerie Jarrett to spearhead said effort.

The Hawaiian's quest to secure the Games to his adopted hometown is as contingent upon on who he is as much as what he does.

Said Canadian IOC member Dick Pound: "Without Obama in the White House, I would say there would be no chance whatsoever for the U.S. winning. 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."

Added GamesBids.com's Robert Livingstone, "Everybody who follows the bids is talking about the Obama factor. It’s the biggest issue of the whole campaign."

Despite the inherent strength of the President's influence, several Obama associates are regardless, pounding away hard at the campaign:
Jarrett had been vice chair of Chicago 2016, the $49 million nonprofit enterprise created in 2006 to lead the city’s bid. The group maintains deep ties to some of Obama’s closest backers, who are among its top officials and major financiers.

Four of the five co-chairs of Obama’s inaugural committee have unpaid leadership roles in the Chicago bid, including Pat Ryan, the chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016; John Rodgers, the treasurer and director of Chicago 2016; Penny Pritzker, the hotel heiress who led Obama’s meteoric presidential campaign fundraising; and Bill Daley, the former Clinton administration commerce secretary and brother of the Chicago mayor.

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