OK, so it wasn't health care, climate change or war. Still, President Barack Obama's high-profile failure to win the Olympics for Chicago could feed negative narratives already nipping at his heels — that he's a better talker than closer, more celebrity than statesman.
And this could hamper his efforts on the weightier issues.
Despite Obama's fabled charm and powers of persuasion, his in-person plea for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Games fell flat. It was a hugely embarrassing defeat. His adopted hometown — considered a front-runner heading into Friday's voting — didn't just lose, it took last place, shocking nearly all by getting knocked out in the first round while the remaining three contenders moved on.
The defeat could soon be a distant memory, and may never be more than a quixotic-blip trip. But if, for whatever reason, bigger losses start piling up in Obama's corner, his performance in this case could be regarded as emblematic.
• He doesn't have what it takes to close a deal.
The why-Chicago-lost story has many contributors, with Obama's last-minute flight to Copenhagen for an emotional appeal probably among the least of them. Regardless, he is now tied inexorably to Chicago's defeat, and that verdict isn't good.
• He's too casual with the use of his own time.
This White House has been drawing questions about its tendency to turn to Obama as its only closer, with not much of a bench. Other White Houses have been more judicious about deploying their most precious resource, the president — doing so only when really needed, and usually only when they know they can win. This reduces the chances of overexposure reducing his effectiveness.
It might have been wiser to know more about the vote count before he boarded Air Force One. In hindsight, there was plenty of reason to doubt Chicago's chances.
• He's junior varsity-league, still learning on the job.
The votes of IOC members are notoriously hard to count ahead of time. But so are those in the U.S. Capitol. Will Obama do as poorly predicting how health care votes are leaning in Congress, and make similarly ill-fated strategic decisions as that long and complicated debate unfolds through the fall? (By AP. See full story at Yahoo News