Let The Games Begin...

Here it is.

Obama 2008 Meets Chicago 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., second from right, Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and others, applaud at a Chicago 2016 Olympic rally, June 6, 2008, at the Daley Center Plaza in Chicago. (Associated Press)

Updated 4:51 p.m.
By Peter Slevin
CHICAGO -- An ebullient Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), fresh from wrapping up the Democratic nomination, did his bit for another longshot campaign today when he made an impromptu pitch for his hometown to host the 2016 Olympics.

"This is a good time to be in Chicago!" Obama shouted when handed the spotlight by Mayor Richard M. Daley (D), the booster-in-chief of the Olympics bid. "The White Sox are winning, the Cubs are winning and Chicago's going to win the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

"And your senator, he's winning, too."

Chicago made it into the Olympics final four this week, but is trailing Tokyo and Madrid, according to the International Olympics Committee. That did not stop Daley, joined by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), from calling an outdoor rally to cheer.

Obama, in town for three rare quiet days -- he said he plans to take his wife, Michelle, on an actual date -- did his part.

Obama's description of Chicago's strengths ("not just a city that works, but a city that inspires") and his view of Olympic ideals ("we can come together and accomplish great things") seemed to merge with the themes of his candidacy.

He said he expects to be finishing his second White House term in 2016 and pointed out that he lives within a few blocks of the proposed Olympic stadium in Washington Park. He might have to rent out his place during the games, he joked, if the price is right.

"In 2016, I'll be wrapping up my second term as President," Obama said. "I can't think of a better way than to be walking into Washington Park...as president of the United States and announcing to the world, 'Let the Games begin!'"

In honor of a pair of Os -- Obama and the Olympics -- the crowd of lunchtime passersby, which grew as his voice carried across Daley Plaza, started up his signature campaign chant, "Yes We Can!"

Posted at 3:27 PM ET on Jun 6, 2008 | Barack Obama
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