Chicago ready to win bid to hold 2016 Games: Obama

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama says the whole country is rooting for his hometown of Chicago in its efforts to host the 2016 Olympics.

If Chicago wins its bid, Obama says the city "will make America proud and America will make the world proud."

Obama held an Olympic event at the White House today, along with Olympic athletes and Mayor Richard Daley. (To read the president''s remarks, please scroll down.)

The International Olympic Committee will choose a host city during an Oct. 2 meeting in Denmark. First lady Michelle Obama will attend the meeting.

This morning, in advance of the White House event, Daley said he had not gotten assurances that President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen Oct. 2 when the International Olympic Committee chooses from among four cities competing to host the Summer Games.

"If there''s ever a possibility, he would do it, but I cannot speak for the president," Daley said.

The mayor, addressing reporters, portrayed the four-city race to host the Summer Games as even.

"I think we''re all there," he said. "I think Tokyo is there, I think Madrid''s there, and Rio de Janeiro--I think we''re all even. You cannot underestimate any of the other cities or countries that are bidding for this."

The White House announced Friday that First Lady Michelle Obama will lead the U.S. delegation to the Danish capital for the IOC vote. The president called the IOC''s head that day to say the health-care debate prevented him from committing at this time.

When Daley was asked to gauge the likelihood of President Obama going to Copenhagen, and what his message would be to the president to persuade him, he replied: "That''s a tough question."

He went on to say these are difficult, recessionary times and that the president had a full slate of domestic and international issues. "And we have a wonderful representative in Michelle and others coming in from the White House," Daley added.

"Also you have to remember as a senator, as a candidate, as president, he [Barack Obama] has fully supported us in so many different ways during the year, talking to so many heads of state in regards to our Olympic and Paralympic bid, and I''m very, very grateful for that."

Daley spoke from the offices Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who hosted a breakfast meeting that drew several members of the state''s congressional delegation. On the agenda: the Olympic bid, stimulus spending and restructuring government in light of the recession.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) announced that on Thursday evening he will host a reception for Africa''s ambassadors to the U.S. in a drive to promote Chicago as the site of the 2016 Summer Games.

He urged African students in Chicago to tout the city''s virtues to their governments.