President Barack Obama's last-minute decision to fly Thursday to Copenhagen to pitch Chicago's bid for the 2016 summer Olympic games excited broadcast network journalists Monday night. “The Olympic motto is 'swifter, higher, stronger,'” fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Harry Smith reminded viewers before trumpeting: “Apparently, President Obama is taking that to heart. In a change of plans today, the President decided he will go to Denmark to try to win the 2016 summer games for his hometown.” On NBC, Savannah Guthrie championed Obama's credentials:
From his candidate days to earlier this month on the White House lawn, where he picked up some pointers on fencing, the President has established himself as a kind of Olympics super-fan. Now with Chicago locked in a tight battle with Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, and their heads of state making the trip to Copenhagen, the hometown pressure for Obama to go was intense.
ABC, which pointed out how “no President has ever made such an appeal,” even led with the development. “Olympic bid,” Charles Gibson teased, “the President decides to travel thousands of miles for a last-minute personal pitch, hoping to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.”
Gibson opened World News:
The International Olympic Committee votes on Friday, deciding which city will host the 2016 summer games: Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro or Tokyo. All four cities have lobbied for years. Flying to Copenhagen Thursday night to make the final appeal for Chicago will be none other than President Obama. No President has ever made such an appeal. His trip to Denmark -- it will be a quick one -- was announced today by the White House.
(CBS led with Iran's missile firing and NBC started with efforts to stem the spread of the flu.)
The first half of the story on the Monday, September 28 NBC Nightly News, which I'm quoting here -- in part -- because it gives me space to put in a screen shot of Obama fencing:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: We learned today just how important it is to the President to bring the 2016 Olympic games to his home city of Chicago. Later this week, he's going to get on Air Force One and fly all the way to Europe to push for it in person. Our White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie broke this story today about the President's latest efforts as salesman in chief, and Savannah, it's not like there isn't already a lot going on in that building behind you.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: A lot going on, but it's important to the President. He'll be in Copenhagen on Friday to make this personal pitch. He's been saying for weeks he wasn't able to go because of the health care debate but things are better enough for him to make this quick trip on Air Force One to make a personal bid to get the games. On the streets of Chicago, the buzz was the President's latest diplomatic mission.
WOMAN: Sending our top guy over there to make the pitch is the right thing to do.
MAN: Much more optimistic. I already felt pretty optimistic about it, but I think now more than ever we have a very good chance of getting the games.
GUTHRIE: From his candidate days to earlier this month on the White House lawn, where he picked up some pointers on fencing, the President has established himself as a kind of Olympics super-fan. Now with Chicago locked in a tight battle with Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, and their heads of state making the trip to Copenhagen, the hometown pressure for Obama to go was intense...