Olympics Honcho: Obama Could Make Huge Difference
Pound suggests Chicago mayor try twisting Obama's arm ahead of IOC vote
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2009 1:57 AM CDT
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley makes a presentation as Barack Obama appears on a screen in the background during the 37th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees in Istanbul last year.   (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)
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(Newser) – President Obama's absence will definitely be noticed as the International Olympic Committee meets to pick the host city for the 2016 Olympics, IOC member Dick Pound tells AP. "I don't think there's an IOC member on the planet who wouldn't love to meet your president. He's a transformational figure in the world today," said Pound, a Canadian. Obama, a vocal backer of Chicago's bid, has said he is too busy with health care legislation to attend the Copenhagen meeting, but that Michelle Obama will be there.

Pound warned that Chicago's rivals Tokyo, Madrid, and Rio de Janeiro—which will be represented by their heads of state—may try to use Obama's decision to further their own chances. "If you have a popular and transformational leader and you don't use him, you're not maximizing your chances," Pound said. "To the extent" that Chicago's mayor and Pat Ryan "can twist the presidential arm, they should do that. I think it could make a huge difference."