Commentary: Too much fuss made over Obama's Olympic assistance

The Kansas City StarOctober 1, 2009 

Barack Obama knows how important it is to hold the 2016 Olympic Games in Chicago.

And on Friday, he will be America's most effective pitchman in lobbying the International Olympic Committee in Denmark. (With due apologies to Oprah Winfrey, who'll also be there on behalf of the Windy City.)

Obama realizes the games could bring tourists from around the world to his adopted hometown. And, as long as Chicago is fiscally responsible, it should get plenty of new construction for housing and sporting venues for its multibillion-dollar effort.

But wait, what's that?

Critics are carping that Obama's brief trip will detract from his abilities to deal with health care reform, wage war in Afghanistan and handle other crises. Much of this criticism comes from GOP leaders who, last time we checked, hate Obama's proposed health-care changes. Logically, Republicans ought to hope Obama stays overseas for a few weeks of sightseeing.

But he won't, of course. The excursion to Copenhagen and back is expected to take less than 24 hours. Chicago needs help as it competes for the Olympic Games against Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid.

Obama has a crucial role to play in this important game at crunch time. Let’s hope he scores a victory.

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