President Obama shook up his home town yesterday when the White House announced it’s moving the G-8 summit from Chicago to Camp David instead.
Today, the President tried to soothe some ruffled feathers. His decision to shift the summit wasn’t a slap at Chicago’s preparations, he told an afternoon news conference. Rather, he’s never had world leaders come to Camp David, and wanted the opportunity to talk in a relaxed setting.
“We’re still going to be showing up with a whole bunch of world leaders,” Obama said, referring to the NATO summit that will still be held there. “I always have confidence in Chicago ability to handle security, whether it’s Taste of Chicago or Lapalooza or most championships.”
(The president was referring to Lollapalooza, the annual alt-music festival that’s held in Grant Park. Chicagoans on Twitter immediately took notice. Tweeted Peter Sagal: “Lapalooza? LAPALOOZA?”)
From the beginning, scheduling both the G-8 and NATO summits in Chicago back-to-back was all about putting the city on a global stage. No city had hosted both since London in 1977. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, lobbied his old boss to get the summits.
But now that the President has decided to move the G-8 summit, and leave Chicago with the less-prestigious and less-contentious NATO summit, what does it mean for the city? Since it was all about the city’s image anyway, it means whatever people say it means.
Here’s our guide to how people have reacted:
- Crain’s Chicago Business says the city has taken “a pie in the face.”
- The Chicago Sun-Times talked to various business leaders in the city, and found shock among hotel operators. “I’m still pulling myself off the ground on this.” one hotel manager told the paper. “Give me some oxygen.”
- The Associated Press says the move won’t keep protestors off the streets of Chicago during the NATO meeting.
- The Chicago Tribune finds a bit of a mixed reaction on the news. But the paper says one thing won’t change: The Chicago Restaurant Association will still go ahead with its international dining initiative. More than 50 restaurants will feature tasting menus that represent the NATO nations.
- The Chicago Reader, characteristically, used stronger language, saying the decision was probably a “[bleeping] bummer” for Mayor Emanuel. The Readers said the NATO summit would bring less prestige to the city.”NATO summits don’t generally excite people as much as meetings of the most powerful money guys in the world,” the paper said.
- Salon checked in with the Occupy movement, and reports that OccupyChicago promised on Twitter that the protests in May will still be “#EPIC.”