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Obama Looks to Aid Chicago’s Olympic Bid at Finish Line

President Obama will travel to Copenhagen this week to lobby on behalf of his hometown of Chicago and its bid to land the 2016 summer games.

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    Now, Chicago gets some big-time help in its race for the Olympics. Ray Suarez has that story.


    Chicago is ready. The American people are ready. We want these games. We want them.


    In its effort to win the 2016 Summer Games, Chicago has called in a heavyweight windy city resident: President Obama. Earlier this month, he aimed a long-distance message at Olympic organizers.


    If you choose Chicago, I promise you this: Chicago will make America proud, and America will make the world proud.


    Now the president and first lady will personally coax members of the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen this week as Friday's final vote approaches.

    Along with Chicago, the committee is considering Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Madrid, Spain, and Tokyo, Japan, as host cities.

    If Chicago wins, it will be the first American city to host the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996. Chicago has worked hard to polish its image and show off through ads like this, showing the potential benefits of hosting the games.

    Winning the games is more than just a boost to national pride.


    Most importantly, the Olympic and Paralympic Games would be a huge boost to our economy, raising it to a new level. They would help us recover sooner from the recession.


    The games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of London.


    Four years ago, the United Kingdom celebrated a hotly contested victory over France to host the 2012 games. It took a personal bid from Prime Minister Tony Blair at the last minute to do it. Since then, London has seen a building boom in anticipation of the next Summer Games.

    And while London is enjoying a boom at the moment, some cities have had less fortunate experiences with the Olympics. It took Montreal 30 years to pay its Olympic bills, and Athens is still reeling from cost overruns in 2004.

    Robert Baade is professor of economics at Lake Forest College and president of the International Association of Sports Economists. He's written widely on the impact of the Olympics and other sporting events, and joins us this evening from Chicago.

    Well, Professor, is bringing celebrity firepower to a bid one of the ways cities can legitimately compete, now that the IOC has changed its selection procedures in the wake of scandals in the '90s?