GOP quickly bashes Obama move to fly off for Olympic bid

Republican party chief Michael Steele said that President Obama has too much on his plate for an Olympics pitch. Republican party chief Michael Steele said that President Obama has too much on his plate for an Olympics pitch. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
September 30, 2009

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Some Republicans are panning President Obama’s decision to jet to Copenhagen in hope of helping his adopted hometown of Chicago win the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In his whirlwind jaunt starting late tomorrow, Obama, who had said for weeks that he was too busy with health care to go, will only be on the ground for a few hours before returning to Washington on Friday. And the White House points out that Obama has a fully equipped office aboard Air Force One.

But Republican party chief Michael Steele told reporters yesterday that while “a noble idea,’’ Obama has too much on his plate for a personal Olympics pitch.

“I think at a time of war, I think at a time of recession, at a time where Americans have expressed rather significantly their concerns and frustrations over the course of the spring and summer about health care, about the economy, about a host of domestic issues. . . . I think that this trip, while nice, is not necessary for the president,’’ Steele said during the conference call, scheduled to bash Obama and the Democrats on health care.

Steele added that Obama is lurching from the economy to a climate change bill, then health care, and now the Olympics when he should be focusing on an economy that is still “terribly close to the precipice.’’

Senator Christopher Bond of Missouri and Representative Pete Hoekstra of Michigan also questioned Obama’s priorities, saying he needs to focus on the war in Afghanistan.

Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan responded in an e-mail to the Washington Post: “It’s just sad that Michael Steele and the Republican party would talk down our country’s Olympic bid, purely for partisan politics.’’

-- Globe Staff

Lawmaker tries to explain remarks critical of Obama

WASHINGTON - A Republican congressman who called President Obama an “enemy of humanity’’ said yesterday that he should have made clear that he was referring to the president’s policies related to abortion.

Representative Trent Franks of Arizona said in a speech to conservatives Saturday in St. Louis that given Obama’s decision to fund international family planning organizations that support legal abortion, “we shouldn’t be shocked that he does all these other insane things.’’

“A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can’t do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity,’’ Franks said to the “How to Take Back America’’ conference.

Franks said that he was referring to “unborn humanity’’ and should have clarified his remarks. His statement listed a series of actions Obama has taken related to abortion.

“While I absolutely should have made the meaning of my statement more clear, the facts remain that these radical pro-abortion policies do not have place in a government founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights and chief among those rights is the right to life,’’ Franks said in the statement.

A White House spokesman had no immediate comment.

A video recording of Franks’ speech was provided by the liberal interest group People for the American Way, whose president, Michael Keegan, said the remarks “show a stunning lack of respect for our president and the office of the presidency.’’

-- Associated Press

Publication date moved up for 400-page Palin memoir

NEW YORK - Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate, has finished her memoir just four months after the book deal was announced, and the release date has been moved up from the spring to Nov. 17, her publisher said.

“Governor Palin has been unbelievably conscientious and hands-on at every stage, investing herself deeply and passionately in this project,’’ said Jonathan Burnham, publisher of Harper. “It’s her words, her life, and it’s all there in full and fascinating detail.’’

Palin’s book, her first, will be 400 pages, and has a title, one fitting for a public figure known for the unexpected - “Going Rogue: An American Life.’’

Harper, an imprint of News Corp.’s HarperCollins division, has commissioned a huge first printing of 1.5 million copies. Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s memoir, “True Compass,’’ published by Twelve soon after his Aug. 25 death, also had a 1.5 million first printing.

Palin, 45, who resigned as governor over the summer with more than a year left in her term, has been an object of fascination since Senator John McCain chose her as his running mate last year, making an instant celebrity out of a once-obscure public official. During last year’s campaign, pundits questioned whether Palin hurt McCain’s presidential bid by “going rogue,’’ or defying his campaign’s control.

-- Associated Press