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President Obama Sends Advance Team


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President Obama is dispatching an advance team to Copenhagen to pave the way for a possible personal appearance before the Olympic committee next month.

The decision doesn't necessarily mean Obama will be able to make an in-person appeal for his adopted hometown of Chicago, which is bidding to to host the Olympics in 2016, a senior advisor to the president said this afternoon.

But the president wants to make sure he has the option to go, in case he can get away from the health care discussions to make the trip.

Before any presidential trip, the White House advance teams need time to size up the security situation and make arrangements for accomodations -- even for travel the president doesn't end up undertaking. The advance team will travel Monday.

"He wants to preserve his options," the advisor said in an interview today.

Ten days ago, Obama told Chicago Mayor Richard Daley that he might not be able to get away, because of the ongoing effort to pass a health care bill. But Obama still hopes to make the trip if he can do so without jeopardizing the reform bill, aides say.

Whatever happens, First Lady Michelle Obama will still go and make the case for her hometown to host the games.

The White House considers her a persuasive salesperson.

"She is regarded as an essential strength of the strategy, because she was born and raised in Chicago and her life story embodies the Olympic spirit," the Obama advisor said.

Chicago is competing with Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro to host the Olympics. The 100-plus member International Olympic Committee will vote on a winner early next month.


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September 19, 2009 (WLS) -- President Barack Obama apparently has changed his mind. An administration source tells ABC7 the president will "likely" accompany first lady Michelle Obama to Copenhagen to make a final push for Chicago to win the right to host the 2016 Summer Games.

The source underscored that the decision is not final and may be dependent on the status of health care reform bills in Congress. Nonetheless, it marks a dramatic departure from statements made by Mr. Obama and his advisors on Wednesday in which they downplayed the possibility of the president personally lobbying the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A senior administration official tells ABC News that a White House advance team has been dispatched to Copenhagen to prepare for the possibility that President Obama will personally make the pitch to the IOC.


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Dammit! WHo leaked this info? It's TOO SOON!!

Funny, I was half-listening to that Ari Fleischer guy while prepping dinner last night...and he kept talking about Copenhagen and Obama, etc., etc., I really thought the White Hosue had made it official...until I realzied that there is also going to be some BIG UN summit on the climate/weather in Copenhagen as well?? But it was rather prescient.

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These reports are encouraging, but I agree, right now may not be the best timing for him to announce that he will be going. I am pretty sure that if he does go, it won't be announced until the later half of the week at the earliest. Last week he kept saying that "I don't know if I can go, and Michelle is the better ambassador" so to say that you're going now is a too early. He should announce it right after the G20 meeting.

There also reports saying that he will be "selling" Chicago's bid to G20 leaders.

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