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Barak and Michelle Obama have returned in defeat from Copenhagen, Denmark. The International Olympic Committee there turned a deaf ear to their bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in their hometown, Chicago.

President Obama was not the only head of state to make a pitch for their country. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia along with Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero made a plug for Spain. The new Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, pushed for his country. And, the winner of the bid, Brazilian President Lula da Silva, accompanied by Brazilian soccer legend, Pelé, appealed for their South American country.

It’s rare to see a summit of heads of state discussing something so benign as the Olympics. I don’t mean to downplay the value of the Olympics on the world stage. It’s just that, in this case, the topic of concern was not some international crisis.

This phenomenon of heads of state getting together to discuss the venue of the Summer Olympics either underscores the high value of the Olympic Games or it shows that something is drastically out of line.

With the issues such as global warming, a war in Afghanistan with an unforeseeable end, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, it seems to me that leaders of free world nations would have better things to do than to grab their spouse or favorite sports hero and rush to Copenhagen to beg the IOC to put the games into their bag.

It’s sort of like a high-stakes Halloween.

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