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Obama agenda: Going for the gold

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Windy City's Olympic delegation has arrived in Denmark; Friday Lady Michelle Obama leaves tonight, and President Obama will depart on Thursday. "In recent weeks Rio has become the emotional favorite to win the games -- and Brazil's president has said he is confident that country will. During the day, however, Chicago seemed to gain momentum after President Obama officially announced he was going to Copenhagen, joining his wife Michelle, in making a case for a U.S. win. Madrid and Tokyo also are in the running."

The New York Times: "Mr. Obama changed his mind and decided to take a gamble no other American president has taken at the urging of his close friend and senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, who has been deeply involved in promoting Chicago's bid. He hopes to trump the presence in Copenhagen of his counterparts from rival countries seeking the games — Brazil, Japan and Spain — and duplicate the success that Tony Blair of Britain and Vladimir V. Putin of Russia have had in recent years by personally lobbying for their nations' bids. 'Having the leader of the free world there supporting the bid sends a good message,' Michelle Obama, who was originally tapped to go to Copenhagen without her husband, told reporters at the White House. 'It will demonstrate to the I.O.C. that this bid has unprecedented commitment throughout our government.'"

"At the same time, crossing the ocean for a dramatic personal plea on behalf of his adopted hometown involves at least some political hazards. Mr. Obama risks looking parochial at a time of enormous challenges and, perhaps even worse, risks a major international embarrassment if the committee rebuffs him and rejects Chicago in favor of Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo or Madrid."

Politico adds, "The White House knows that the decision to go before the International Olympic Committee is fraught with political risk: The president could be embarrassed on a world stage if he doesn't land the games. Plus, more than a few Americans are surely scratching their heads — with his inbox crowded with a troop request for Afghanistan, a new secret nuclear site in Iran, sky-high unemployment and a health care bill in Congress, does the president really have time for this?"