Obama: "I could not be prouder of my hometown"

The president makes a statement about Chicago's failed bid for the Summer Olympics

Published October 2, 2009 8:10PM (EDT)

Shortly after he arrived back in Washington after an unsuccessful trip he made to Copenhagen on behalf of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, President Obama went to the White House Rose Garden to discuss the loss.

"One of the things that I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win. And so, although I wish that we had come back with better news from Copenhagen, I could not be prouder of my hometown of Chicago, the volunteers who were involved, Mayor Daley, the delegation and the American people for the extraordinary bid that we put forward," the president said. He also offered his congratulations to Brazil, which secured the games for Rio de Janeiro. It's the first time the Olympics will be held in South America, and so Obama termed Rio's win "a truly historic event ... [an] extraordinary sign of progress."

The persident's remarks also contained a message the White House has been working hard to emphasize in the face of derision from the right about Obama's trip and Chicago's defeat. They're emphasizing the patriotism angle, saying it's always good to go out and talk about how great the U.S. is, even if it doesn't result in becoming host of the Summer Olympics.

" I believe it's always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America and invite the world to come see what we're all about. We obviously would have been eager to host these games, but, as I said, this nation and our athletes are still very much excited to compete in 2016," Obama said. "And we once again want to just say how much we are committed to the Olympic spirit, which I think represents some of the best of humanity."

Obama concluded his remarks by switching to a different topic, the monthly jobs report released Friday, which showed a loss of 263,000 jobs in September.

"My principal focus each and every day, as well as the principal focus of my economic team, is putting our nation back on the path to prosperity," Obama said, continuing:

And since the period last winter when we were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month, we've certainly made some progress on this front.

But today's job report is a sobering reminder that progress comes in fits and starts and that we're going to need to grind out this recovery step by step.

From the moment I took office, I've made the point that employment is often the last thing to come back after a recession, and that's what history shows us. But our task is to do everything we can possibly do to accelerate that process ....

And that's why I'm working closely with my economic advisers to explore any and all additional options and measures that we might take to promote job creation.

Whenever I see statistics like the one we saw today, my mind turns to the people behind them -- honest, decent Americans who want nothing more than the opportunity to contribute to their country and help build a better future for themselves and their families.

And building a 21st century economy that offers this opportunity, an economy where folks can receive the skills and education they need to compete for the jobs of the future, will not happen overnight. But we will build it. Of that, I am both confident and determined.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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