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The Politics Of Chicago's Olympic Failure

To say that Chicago's elimination from the Olympic voting in the very first round was a stunner would be a significant understatement. The Windy City was the odds-on favorite in Vegas, with Rio de Janeiro a close second.

But President Obama's last-minute decision to appeal to the International Olympic Committee in person makes today's loss a political issue for the White House. The RNC had already criticized Obama for leaving the country when the work of health care is unfinished and the economy still struggling. A win, as expected, would have muted those complaints.

Here's how David Axelrod spun the loss, during an appearance on MSNBC. "Obviously it's a disappointment. It would have been great to have the Olympics in Chicago," he said. "The President of the United States will go anywhere to promote the interests of this country, to make the case for this country. I think it was worth the effort. And we move on."

He went on to emphasize that it was a short trip on the president's part, and that he still thinks it was worth it. "It was well worth the effort. I'm not worried about the politics of it," he said.

The reaction on Twitter from conservative pundits is an interesting case study. Newt Gingrich weighed in, noting the loss comes on the same day that new unemployment numbers were released. "President Eisenhower had a rule that Presidents of the United States went to the meetings after success had been assured," he also wrote.

Scott Stanzel, a former Bush administration spokesperson, was more cautious, urging Republican consultants and officials to "resist the temptation to pile on about Chicago losing the Olympic bid just because Obama made the pitch."