White House: Obama would love to go to Denmark

Senior adviser talks Olympics with ABC7
July 22, 2010 10:12:51 AM PDT
An armada of Illinoisans is poised to descend on Denmark next week, and President Barack Obama may be among them. "He's always said he'd love to go," White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told ABC7 this afternoon. "As the [health care reform] process is going through Congress he's monitoring it very closely and if he thinks that he can go without having an adverse impact on that process, well then he'd be delighted to do so," Jarrett said.

First Lady Michelle Obama will arrive with Jarrett in Copenhagen on September 30 and immediately begin a series of one-on-one meetings with swing IOC voters. "From the time we hit the ground until the time we leave we'll be working very hard to earn each and every vote of the IOC members," Jarrett said. Michelle Obama will be among ten people to take part in Chicago's final presentation to the International Olympic Committee on October 2.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is the latest administration official to join the Chicago delegation. Secretary LaHood, a former Peoria representative, will emphasize mass transit plans and federal support for projects meant to ensure a smooth travel experience for Olympians and visitors if Chicago is selected as the 2016 host city. The White House announced Thursday that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former Chicago Public Schools chief, will also personally lobby IOC members. Jarrett said Duncan's roll will be to discuss youth involvement in sport as a lasting legacy of a Chicago Games.

"I think our team shows a deep understanding of Chicago," Jarrett said. "We appreciate and love the city." Jarrett added high-level White House meetings are being held every day to plot strategy for next week's IOC session.


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