First lady Michelle Obama vowed Monday to “take no prisoners” as she and her husband launch an unprecedented bid for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid.
“It’s a battle — we’re going to win — take no prisoners,” the first lady said with a smile at a roundtable discussion with reporters in the White House State Dining Room. She compared the intense lobbying effort to the 2008 presidential campaign, noting that in the election campaign, a lot of voters made their decision in the final days. She said members of the International Olympic Committee may do the same. “And our view is, we’re not taking a chance,” she said. “We’re just not going to assume that the bids — that the decisions are made, and so that no matter what the outcome is, we’ll feel as a country, as a team, that we’ve done everything that we can to bring it home.” The White House confirmed Monday that President Obama will fly on Thursday to Copenhagen, Denmark, where the International Olympic Committee will be reviewing bids from several countries on Friday. It will be the first time that an American president has lobbied the IOC in this manner. Mrs. Obama arrives in Copenhagen on Wednesday with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and other top aides. “What a dynamic duo they will be,” Jarrett said. “I think it will be high impact, I think their presentation will be both very personal, given that they know and love Chicago so well.”
President Obama going to Denmark
Mrs. Obama said she and Vice President Joe Biden have been lobbying IOC members by telephone in recent days, and that she plans a packed schedule once she lands in Denmark. “I think I’m talking to everybody,” she said of the dozens of IOC members who will decide the victor. She will also make a formal presentation to the IOC, before the president makes his own pitch on Friday. “We’re each going to do our own proposal,” she said. “I think we have as good a chance as any country.” She joked, however, that there are limits to how far they will work together. Watch Ed Henry’s full report on the Obamas’ Olympics effort “We’re not going to do a joint poem together,” Mrs. Obama said with a laugh.
She also revealed a story that suggests she’s taking the lobbying very seriously. At last week’s G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, she sat next to the first lady of Brazil, one of the nations with a rival bid. “I adore her but I said, ‘You know, I’m going to hug you now and then I’m going after you in Copenhagen,’ ” Mrs. Obama recalled with a laugh. “And she said, ‘You too.’ So gloves are off.”