September 29th, 2009
11:59 AM ET

Michelle Obama Vows to "Take No Prisoners" in Olympic Bid

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/29/michelle.obama.olympics/art.michelle.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="First lady's attitude about the effort to secure Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics: 'Take no prisoners.'"]

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

First Lady Michelle Obama vowed Monday to "take no prisoners" as she and her husband launch an unprecedented bid for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid, comparing the intense lobbying effort to the 2008 presidential campaign.

"It's a battle - we're going to win - take no prisoners," Mrs. Obama said with a smile at a roundtable discussion with reporters in the State Dining Room.
Mrs. Obama noted that in the campaign a lot of voters made their decision in the final days, and members of the International Olympic Committee may do the same.

"And our view is, we're not taking a chance," she said. "We're just not going to assume that the bids - that the decisions are made, and so that no matter what the outcome is, we'll feel as a country, as a team, that we've done everything that we can to bring it home."

Along those lines the White House confirmed that on Thursday night President Obama will fly to Copenhagen, where the International Olympic Committee will be reviewing bids from several countries on Friday, the first time that an American president will personally lobby the IOC in this manner for a U.S. victory. Mrs. Obama arrives on Wednesday with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and other top aides.

"What a dynamic duo they will be," said Jarrett. "I think it will be high impact, I think their presentation will be both very personal, given that they know and love Chicago so well."

Mrs. Obama added that she and Vice President Joe Biden have also been lobbying IOC members by telephone in recent days in order to try and land the Olympics for her home city, and she plans a packed schedule once she lands in Denmark. "I think I'm talking to everybody," she said of the dozens of IOC members who will decide the victor.

Mrs. Obama will also make a formal presentation to the IOC, before the President makes his own pitch on Friday. "We're each going to do our own proposal," said Mrs. Obama. "I think we have as good a chance as any country."

She joked, however, that there are limits to how far they will work together. "We're not going to do a joint poem together," Mrs. Obama said with a laugh.
But she also revealed a story that suggests she's taking the lobbying very seriously by noting that at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh she sat next to the First Lady of Brazil, one of the nations submitting a rival bid.

"I adore her but I said, 'You know, I'm going to hug you now and then I'm going after you in Copenhagen,'" Mrs. Obama recalled with a laugh. "And she said, 'You too.' So gloves are off."

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michelle Obama • Olympics
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Larry

    Where is the $$ coming from for the Olympics; what companies ( name some ) will benefit? What lobbyists are involved? What roles will Revs Jackson & Sharpton play?

    September 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  2. Mari

    Bringing the Olympics to Chicago will help the city create jobs, by bringing in money for construction; hotels will hire more service people; restaurants that have been hard hit by the Bush Disaster, will have a chance to grow their business.

    Plus, foreign visitors coming for the Olympics will stay awhile, and visit some of our National Parks, and other states!

    Its a win-win for America!

    September 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  3. Larry

    Will the Obamas make the IOC an 'offer they can't refuse'? Have any Chicagoans spoken out against hosting the Olympics?

    September 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  4. Amazing

    It should go to Rio, Chicago is such a dump and not a good representation of America.

    September 29, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Isabel Siaba, Brazil

    I'm Brazilian, born in Rio de Janeiro, and I wish much that Rio is chosen as host city, but I can't fail to mention the elegance, sympathy and the support of the two first ladies.

    I think the host city will have the opportunity to solve (or minimize) serious questions as the security, resolve other problems, and generate more jobs.

    Let's wait until Friday! But my preference is Rio2016! 🙂

    September 29, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  6. alex lyrics

    Michelle, looks like a modern day Jackie Onassis in that beautiful outfit.

    She is bringing sexy back to the womens movement.

    All I can say is

    "You GO Girl"

    you look wonderful, women now have a reason to dress again in this recession.

    September 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  7. Jim

    Perhaps he needs to adopt the same statagy in Afganistan & Iran

    September 29, 2009 at 1:03 pm |