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Remarks on Arrival From Copenhagen

October 02, 2009

One of the things that I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win. And so although I wish that we had come back with better news from Copenhagen, I could not be prouder of my hometown of Chicago, the volunteers who were involved, Mayor Daley, the delegation, and the American people for the extraordinary bid that we put forward.

I do want to congratulate Rio de Janeiro and the nation of Brazil for winning the 2016 Olympics. I think this is a truly historic event, as these will be the first Olympic Games ever to be held in South America. And as neighbors in the Americas, as friends to the Brazilian people, we welcome this extraordinary sign of progress and the fact that the 2016 games will be in the Americas. I had a chance to talk to President Lula and gave him a hearty congratulations and told him that our athletes will see him on the field of competition in 2016.

Again, I want to thank everybody who worked so hard to put America's bid together—not just Mayor Daley and the delegation—Pat Ryan—but most especially the thousands of Chicagoans who volunteered over these past few years. They put in their heart and soul into this bid. I have no doubt that it was the strongest bid possible, and I'm proud that I was able to come in and help make that case in person. I believe it's always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America and invite the world to come see what we're all about. We, obviously, would have been eager to host these games, but as I said, this Nation and our athletes are still very much excited to compete in 2016. And we once again want to just say how much we are committed to the Olympic spirit, which I think represents some of the best of humanity.

I also want to say a few words about the unemployment numbers that came out today. As I've said before, my principle focus each and every day, as well as the principle focus of my economic team, is putting our Nation back on the path to prosperity. And since the period last winter, when we were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month, we've certainly made some progress on this front. But today's job report is a sobering reminder that progress comes in fits and starts and that we're going to need to grind out this recovery step by step.

From the moment I took office, I've made the point that employment is often the last thing to come back after a recession. And that's what history shows us. But our task is to do everything we can possibly do to accelerate that process. And I want to let every single American know that I will not let up until those who are seeking work can find work, until businesses that are seeking credit are able to get credit and thrive, until all responsible homeowners can stay in their homes.

That's our ultimate goal, and it's one that we are working every single day here in the White House to accomplish, whether it involves implementing the Recovery Act that's already helped to bring back America from the brink of a much worse situation or lowering the cost of health care for businesses and families. And that's why I'm working closely with my economic advisers to explore any and all additional options and measures that we might take to promote job creation.

Whenever I see statistics like the one we saw today, my mind turns to the people behind them: honest, decent Americans who want nothing more than the opportunity to contribute to their country and help build a better future for themselves and their families. And building a 21st-century economy that offers this opportunity—an economy where folks can receive the skills and education they need to compete for the jobs of the future—will not happen overnight. But we will build it. Of that I am both confident and determined. And on behalf of every American, I will continue in that effort each and every day for as long as I am in this White House.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Note: The President spoke at 3:27 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil; and Patrick G. Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer, Chicago 2016.

Barack Obama, Remarks on Arrival From Copenhagen Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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