LA Times has a story that makes the seasoned observer wonder if the White House isn’t throwing the Chicago Olympic Committee under the bus.
“The intelligence that we had from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Chicago bid team was that it was very close and therefore well worth our efforts,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House advisor. “The message was that . . . a personal appeal from the president would make a huge difference.”
At first, Obama was to do some “quiet lobbying.”
Working from the White House, he placed calls to half a dozen influential people, including IOC President Jacques Rogge. It quickly became clear that other heads of state were doing the same thing — especially the president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
“It was apparent when he made those calls that Lula had been there [made calls?] earlier,” senior White House aide David Axelrod said.
Jarrett, “a strong proponent of the drive to deliver the Games,” urged that Obama make the trip. So did Daley, of course. Obama wanted to go, but had to be sure Health Care would not be on the Senate floor. Chicago kept pushing.
Daley and Patrick Ryan, chairman of Chicago 2016, were among those who told the White House that the nose count showed a presidential visit might close the sale, Jarrett said.
She excuses them:
“It’s a secret ballot. You can’t necessarily be certain that the people who tell you they’ll vote for you ultimately will,” Jarrett said. “So I’m sure they did the very best they could do to get the intelligence they had.”
So. It’s done this way, subtly, indirectly. You can’t blame them for being wrong, dead wrong about sending the President across the waters. And you certainly can blame him or his supposed wise advisors.