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Daley's Defense of the Games

(CHICAGO) Just hours before Chicago's Olympic bid team begins a ward-by-ward effort to rebuild public support for the Games Mayor Richard Daley gave one of his most passionate pleas for the Olympics to date.

"We have to worry about the future," Daley said during questioning by reporters. "If people keeping throwing darts at it, maybe [we] will not get it."

Daley said he believes the 2016 Olympic Games will provide economic opportunities for Chicago and its residents that will be the envy of America.   "You tell me one economic program that anyone has offered both in the private sector and public sectors. Every other city would love to have this."

The Mayor has been heavily criticized since returning from an Olympics meeting in Switzerland in mid-June in which he revealed he would sign a host city agreement that would leave Chicago taxpayers liable for any significant cost over-runs.  The agreement is required by the International Olympic Committee; however the Daley Administration had previously indicated it would find a way to protect taxpayers from begin stuck with the bill for the Games and Daley has long denied any tax dollars would go to the Games.  Chicago 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan is still searching for an insurance firm willing to write a policy that offers Chicago residents further protection.

As for the new Chicago 2016 outreach effort in Chicago's neighborhoods, Daley said he supports a debate on the value of bringing the Games to town.  "People can ask any question," Daley said. "People can debate it.  We want that and we'll look at it.  I would never bankrupt the City of Chicago."

For a list of the Chicago 2016 community meetings visit www.chicago2016.org/backthebid 


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