Obama sports home colours in Olympic bid

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The Independent US

Barack Obama hopes to land at least one clear foreign policy victory before this week is out: he is jetting to Copenhagen to help persuade the International Olympic Committee that Chicago, his hometown, is the best choice for the 2016 summer games.

For the Windy City's backers, the last-minute decision to dispatch the US President to be lobbyist-in-chief at Friday's meeting looks like a gift from heaven. With the race said to be razor-thin between this year's two front-runners, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro, his presence in Denmark could be the game-changer they desperately need.

Mr Obama will not be there for long. He is expected to leave the White House on Thursday evening, arrive in Copenhagen minutes before Chicago's presentation on Friday morning and is scheduled to be back in the Oval Office before dusk the same day.

If the President feared criticism for dedicating 24 hours of his time to supporting a sporting festival, he has a useful precedent with which to defend himself. In 2005, Tony Blair, then Prime Minister, crossed the oceans to reach Singapore, where he helped to push London over the IOC finishing line, just pipping Paris.