CHICAGO - Barack Obama says if Chicago is chosen to host the 2016 Olympics, he's hoping there will be a hometown president to kick off the games.
"In 2016, I'll be wrapping up my second term as president," Obama said. "So I can't think of a better way than to be marching into Washington Park ... as president of the United States and announcing to the world, 'Let the games begin!'"
The Illinois senator, spending a weekend at home after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, made a surprise appearance at a downtown rally Friday to promote the city's bid. He drew loud cheers from the crowd and gawkers pressed up to windows from the high rise office buildings surrounding the rally.
Obama joked that his home is only a couple blocks from Washington Park, the proposed site of the games, so he's thinking about how much he could get for renting it out. He's hoping to be living in the White House any way.
Chicago is competing to host the games along with Tokyo; Madrid, Spain; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Obama was joined at the rally by other elected officials and dignitaries from the city and athletes including track and field gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
"It is a great time to be in Chicago," Obama said. "White Sox are winning. Cubs are winning. And Chicago's going to win the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. And your senator, he's winning, too."