Conservative media have suggested or claimed that President Obama is advocating for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympics in order to return political favors to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley or forward the financial interests of other "Chicago pals." For instance, Glenn Beck advanced baseless speculation that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett "may personally benefit" from the Olympics, and Michelle Malkin wrote that Daley "cronies" in Obama's circle are "returning the favor for their hometown boss" by pushing for the Chicago Olympics.
Conservative media suggest Obama's Olympics bid is cronyism
Beck advanced baseless speculation that "some people say" Valerie Jarrett "may personally benefit" from the Olympics. Beck stated on his Fox News show, "President Obama is heading to Denmark this week to help sway the International Olympic Committee into picking his own hometown of Chicago for the 2016 Olympics. This would be great for Chicago, sure, but will it benefit anyone else?" He later said that "some" were speculating that Jarrett "may personally benefit." [Glenn Beck, 9/29/09]
Pat Caddell: "[W]hat we're going to have is gangster politics that will make Al Capone so happy." Fox News contributor Caddell told Beck that "in Chicago, what we're going to have is gangster politics that will make Al Capone so happy. We are going -- this is the biggest outrage ever done." When asked, "[I]s it possible that [Jarrett] is going to benefit if the Olympics come to Chicago?" Caddell stated, "Well, that's the word. She certainly had a lot of dealings going on in real estate." [Glenn Beck, 9/29/09]
Malkin: Obama pushing Chicago Olympics for "[p]olitical payback." Malkin wrote that after "help[ing] pave Obama's path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Daley "cronies" are "returning the favor for their hometown boss." She added, "It takes a crony-filled White House to raise a Chicago Olympic village. Daley and Obama will get the glory. America will get stuck with the bill." Malkin has also labeled Jarrett "[d]e facto Olympics czar." [MichelleMalkin.com, 9/30/09]
Hume: "[A] lot of people will ... not ever get over" the idea that Obama "was on a political errand for Mayor Daley." Fox News contributor Brit Hume stated that if Obama succeeds in bringing the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, "It would be a win, and it would be President Obama engaging with the rest of the world and getting something for it. Even if he does, though, there are going to be people who will always suspect that he was on a political errand for Mayor Daley of Chicago, who has staked a lot of prestige on landing the Olympics. And a lot of people will, I think, not ever get over that idea." [Fox News' Special Report, 9/29/09]
Jim Quinn: Jarrett is "looking to pull the strings with the federal government." Quinn stated on his radio program, "[Obama] took Valerie Jarrett with him. ... Now what's her interest here? Well, she's a slumlord in Chicago. She's got a bunch of developments in Chicago. So she is looking to the federal government -- she's looking to pull the strings with the federal government to pick up the tab for what Chicago should pick up the tab for, which is housing, you know, the Olympic athletes and all the accoutrements that go with it." [Clear Channel's The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 9/29/09]
Fox & Friends: Is Obama going to Copenhagen for "payback to his pals back in Chicago?" Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy stated, "[W]hy is the president going to Copenhagen? Is it, or could it possibly be, simply payback to his pals back in Chicago?" Citing Malkin's column, Doocy aired photos of the "president's Chicago pals" and stated that "a lot of those people there have a connection not only to the Olympics but to the Obama campaign." Doocy later discussed "the connections about whether or not some of his pals are making money" and stated that Malkin will appear on the next day's edition of Fox & Friends "to explain the connection between the Olympics and the White House." [Fox & Friends, 9/30/09]
Hannity promo: "Are Barack's Chicago buddies banking on a successful [Olympic] bid coming to town?" A FoxNews.com description of the upcoming September 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity reads:
Fox News has repeatedly attacked Obama's efforts to promote Olympic bid
Fox News has repeatedly attacked Obama's Olympic efforts for a variety of reasons, including citing Chicago's crime rate, the war in Afghanistan, and the "carbon footprint" of Obama's trip to Copenhagen. In recent days, Fox News hosts, contributors, and guests have used Obama's promotion of the bid to host the Olympics in Chicago as an excuse to attack him, while Malkin and Matt Drudge have baselessly linked the murder of a teenager in Chicago to the Olympic bid. Attacks on Obama's efforts include Sean Hannity saying that "it sounds" like Obama "is more concerned about bringing the Olympics to Chicago than winning the war in Afghanistan"; Media Research Center president Brent Bozell claiming Obama's trip to Copenhagen to promote the Chicago bid "is evidence that this man just cannot stay away from the klieg lights"; and Special Report host Bret Baier invoking the "carbon footprint" of Obama's trip to Copenhagen to smear the president.
From the September 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: In the meantime, why exactly -- why is the president going to Copenhagen? Is it, or could it possibly be, simply payback to his pals back in Chicago? Michelle Malkin writes in her syndicated column today that it is political payback and, in fact, takes a look at the fact that -- we've got some of the president's Chicago pals up on the big screen over there. Richard Daley --
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): You don't have a chalkboard, do you?
DOOCY: I don't.
KILMEADE: No, that's 5 o'clock today.
DOOCY: We've got this right here. Richard Daley, the mayor of Chicago since '89, he came out early and supported Barack Obama. And so he would really like to see, obviously, for obvious reasons, the Olympics come to Chicago. But then you look at these other faces and suddenly a lot of those people there have a connection not only to the Olympics but to the Obama campaign.
KILMEADE: Well, it's logical, though.
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): Yeah, it's totally logical.
KILMEADE: I mean, that's where the center is. Valerie Jarrett's there, was on the Olympic advisory committee, was -- and -- before Mayor Daley. David Axelrod used to work for Mayor Daley. So you understand that they'd like to see the hometown get -- it would be probably good news for Chicago. It would be great news for NBC, because it would save a lot of money. And we know how tight NBC is with the administration. It would save a lot of money covering the Olympics with it here domestically in a time zone that it's going to give them the maximum amount of viewers.
CARLSON: I mean, let's face it, whether or not it's a Republican or Democrat in office, they're going to pull for their hometown --
CARLSON: -- to get the Olympics. I don't have a problem with that at all. And of course there's going to be political payback. That's the way politics works, unfortunately or fortunately.
What some people have a problem with is the fact that the president has a tremendous amount of domestic issues and international issues on his plate right now, and whether or not this sends the right message that he has time to go to Copenhagen and not time to call General McChrystal in Afghanistan. To me, that is the issue about whether or not he should take this trip.
DOOCY: There are also the connections about whether or not some of his pals are making money. Axelrod's firm, although he's kind of stepped aside since he's got that big job at the White House now, has been doing consulting for Chicago 2016. Also, a woman by the name of Penny Pritzker, who was influential in the Obama campaign, she heads up a realty firm and, according to Michelle Malkin, you know, they stand to make millions of dollars if this is really developed in Chicago.
KILMEADE: All right --
DOOCY: So, anyway, email us right now. Do you think it's appropriate that the president goes off to Copenhagen while so many looming issues are on the horizon? Michael Steele of the RNC says don't go Mr. President. But Robert Gibbs says, look, it's in our best interest.
DOOCY: Tomorrow on our show Michelle Malkin's gonna be dropping by. She's written a column about the number of people who are really close to Barack Obama who are actually involved in the Chicago 2016 program. We've got a shot over there of a whole bunch of guys. She will be by tomorrow to explain the connection between the Olympics and the White House. You're not gonna want to miss it.
From the September 29 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
HUME: Standing by itself, there's nothing much wrong with President Obama's trip to Denmark later this week to promote his hometown of Chicago's bid to land the 2016 Olympics. It would perhaps be good for both the U.S. and Chicago if he succeeds, and possibly even worth a try even if he doesn't. But in politics, nothing occurs in a vacuum, and this trip occurs at a time when the president runs the risk of appearing to go out of his way to pursue a clearly minor objective at the expense of other major ones.
He says, for example, he will take the time to get the strategy right before deciding whether to dispatch more troops to Afghanistan, but he announced the strategy back in March and sent general McChrystal to achieve it. Now that the general wants more troops, Mr. Obama wants more time. How often has he spoken to the general? Once in the past 70 days.
Initially the president said he was not going to Denmark because he was too busy pressing for health care reform. The White House says that situation has improved. Really? The latest polls show support for his health care ideas at an all-time low. And Iran, which has met Mr. Obama's overtures of engagement with nose-thumbing and missile tests, now says it won't even discuss that recently uncovered nuclear plant when it meets with the U.S. and others in Geneva later this week. An awkward moment, perhaps, for a foreign trip to promote a sports event.
BAIER: And if he does succeed?
HUME: Well, that would help. It would be a win, and it would be President Obama engaging with the rest of the world and getting something for it. Even if he does, though, there are going to be people who will always suspect that he was on a political errand for Mayor Daley of Chicago, who has staked a lot of prestige on landing the Olympics. And a lot of people will, I think, not ever get over that idea.
BAIER: We'll cover it. Brit, thanks.
From the September 29 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: President Obama is heading to Denmark this week to help sway the International Olympic Committee into picking his own hometown of Chicago for the 2016 Olympics. This would be great for Chicago, sure, but will it benefit anyone else?
Let me show you this. This is the new book that's out -- Arguing With Idiots. It has been out for a week now. This is -- if Common Sense, the book I wrote last summer, was the problem, this is the cure for it.
It is the facts -- everything. Here is Barack Obama. These are the people that he has surrounded himself with, just with the SEIU -- the unions, ACORN, special interests are running this country. Read about it in Arguing With Idiots.
We have now Pat Caddell with us. Pat Caddell is a former senior adviser to President Carter. He's a Democrat and a proud Democrat, not a Democrat that agrees with the crazy revolutionaries that seemed to have hijacked his party.
Pat, I'm trying to figure this one out. Vancouver lost -- how much was it? They lost $1 billion when they had the Olympics. How is the city of Chicago in Illinois, that is broke, going to benefit from having the Olympics?
CADDELL: Well, let me tell you who is going to benefit. But before I say that, let me just say I agree with what you just said about "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
I always quote the stanza that this is -- that proclaims the purpose of this nation: "As he died to make them holy, let us die to make them free." It is what makes us different from any other nation.
BECK: It is. It is.
CADDELL: Now, in Chicago, what we're going to have is gangster politics that will make Al Capone so happy. We are going -- this is the biggest outrage ever done. The president of the United States, who cannot find -- who's found only one moment in more than two months to speak to the commander of his troops in Afghanistan, is going to get on a plane and fly to Denmark Friday -- or Thursday.
He is going to go over there with Valerie Jarrett, who was last seen with the NEA pumping up their use of, you know, money and they are going over there --
BECK: And Van Jones.
CADDELL: And Van Jones -- all of our people that she runs. She is the former commission head of the -- co-chairman of this Chicago thing. Chicago, by the way -- remember, they're closing the government several days a week because they cannot afford to be open.
They are going to go, and they are going to reward -- this is the biggest scandal. This is going to be corruption on a scale unimaginable. And let me just say -- let me give you some of the characters.
You've got Valerie Jarrett there, right? Valerie Jarrett -- she is the person that runs Chicago and the White House for the president and the first lady. She is the one who is involved meeting with HUD a month ago to see how we were going to finance this. This city has no money.
They have put in charge -- 50 percent of the people in Chicago are against having these Olympics. They have voted in the City Council 49 to nothing to have the Olympics. The mayor, Mayor Daley, and his friends and contributors -- they have appointed alderman Eddie Burke.
And let me just say
I don't want to explain -- just to tell you, it is like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.
BECK: OK --
CADDELL: He is going to watch the financial stuff.
BECK: Pat, let me ask you this. Fox TV in Chicago was told they can't run a story on the negative part of the Olympics. And Valerie Jarrett -- some people say she was a slumlord and she may personally benefit. I'd like to ask you that question. Can we do that next? Can we have Pat back? OK, when we come back in just a second.
BECK: For the first time in American history, the president is going to take Air Force One and fly across the ocean to meet with the Olympic committee to pitch Chicago as an Olympic city. Wow, who is going to benefit? Well, he's going with his wife -- President Obama and Valerie Jarrett.
Pat Caddell is here, former senior adviser to President Carter, Fox News contributor -- a guy who wants to hold people accountable in Washington, get rid of corruption.
Is Valerie Jarrett -- is it possible that she is going to benefit if the Olympics come to Chicago?
CADDELL: Well, that's the word. She certainly had a lot of dealings going on in real estate. Remember, all the venues will take place only inside the city of Chicago. This is -- they have got every contributor, every real estate person.
Look, Tony Rezko, in the end, probably will make money on this. This is the greatest outrage, and people need to tell the Congress right now to pass a law -- not a penny, not a dime from us to bail it out for stimulus grants to pay for this. This is going to be a disaster at a level we've never seen in American politics financially.
BECK: Unbelievable. Pat, thank you so much for being an honest -- you know, just an honest American. We don't agree on everything --
CADDELL: No, we don't.
BECK: -- but we agree on accountability, and I appreciate that, sir. Thank you very much.