He came, he pitched and he flew back empty-handed.Could his brief trip to Copenhagen hurt the Obama administration? What do you think?
Even before Chicago was eliminated, critics had lampooned Barack Obama’s trip to Copenhagen as a misplaced exercise in “verbal gymnastics”. But Friday’s embarrassing first-round elimination is likely to cause Mr Obama more problems back home.
“I don’t view this as a repudiation of the president or the first lady,” said David Axelrod, Mr Obama’s senior advisor and a fellow Chicagoan. “It didn’t work out but it was worth the effort.”
On Friday Mr Obama’s critics on the right were joined by many in the media, which had already raised questions about his priorities.
More immediately, the rejection is likely to intensify questions about Mr Obama’s allegedly vaunting self-belief. Although Mr Obama spent only a few hours in the Danish capital, and although other leaders were there to bat on behalf of their cities, Barack and Michelle Obama couched their pitches in biographical terms. By personalising Chicago’s appeal, Mr Obama put his own reputation on the line.
“Nearly one year ago, on a clear November night, people from every corner of the world gathered in the city of Chicago . . . to watch the results of the US presidential election,” Mr Obama told the Olympic committee. “Their interest wasn’t about me as an individual . . . Rather, it was rooted in the belief that America’s experiment in democracy still speaks to a set of universal aspirations and ideals . . . And so I urge you to choose Chicago!”
The fallout from Mr Obama’s quixotic trip will overshadow more important White House initiatives, including his attempts to push through universal healthcare, his review of America’s role in Afghanistan, and attempts to revive the US economy. It did not help that Friday’s rejection coincided with the announcement of a 263,000 increase in US joblessness.
6 hours ago