Gibbs: Obama 'disappointed' at losing Olympics
JULIE PACE | 10/2/2009, 2:28 p.m.
Asked by a reporter how he thought his pitch went, Obama gave a thumbs up - and he said the video montage of Chicago during the U.S. presentation made him miss home.
"Obviously now it's up to the IOC members, but we are just grateful for the incredible hospitality," Obama said.
He joked that only one part upset him: "They arranged for me to follow Michelle - that's always bad."
Both Obamas spoke on deeply personal terms about Chicago, the city at the center of the world's spotlight so many times, including in November when the former Illinois senator won the White House. The president described Chicago as a city of diversity and warmth, a place where he finally found a home.
"It's a city that works, from its first World's Fair more than a century ago to the World Cup we hosted in the nineties," Obama said. "We know how to put on big events."
For all the anticipation surrounding Obama's appearance in Copenhagen, his arrival at the IOC meeting was decidedly subdued. The 100-plus committee members, who had already been warned not show bias during the presentations, sat silently as the Obamas walked into the Bella Center with the rest of 12-member Chicago delegation.
Mrs. Obama gave a passionate account of what the games would mean to her father, who taught her as a girl how to throw punches better than the boys. She spoke fondly of growing up on the South Side of Chicago, sitting on her father's lap and cheering on Olympic athletes. She noted that her late father had multiple sclerosis, so she knows something about athletes who compete against tough odds.
"Chicago's vision for the Olympic and Paralympic movement is about so much more than what we can offer the games," she said. "It's about what the games can offer all of us - it's about inspiring this generation and building a lasting legacy for the next."
The president anchored the U.S. charm offensive. He referenced his own election as a moment when people from around the world gathered in Chicago to see the results last November and celebrate that "our diversity could be a source of strength."
"There is nothing I would like more than to step just a few blocks from my family's home and with Michelle and our two girls welcome the world back to our neighborhood," Obama said. "At the beginning of this new century, the nation that has been shaped by people from around the world wants a chance to inspire it once more."
Associated Press National Writer Nancy Armour in Copenhagen contributed to this story.