Because that's what it was... It wasn't AMERICA'S Olympic bid, or even Chicago's. Obama put himself, time, money, a committee, a celebrity and a wife into the pitch for the 2012 Olympics to be held in his old stomping ground.
Obama was the first president to ever lobby the IOC. The US has the most money to throw at the IOC. Oprah and Michelle Obama schmoozed IOC members. "[Obama] videotaped four messages on Chicago's behalf for IOC members, and has been working the phones and writing letters of support in recent weeks. On Sept. 16, he and the first lady hosted a pep rally at the White House."
Upon the announcement that the president would fly to Copenhagen his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said, "His physical presence just magnifies all of what he's been saying," Chicago 2016 chairman Pat Ryan said, a big smile on his face. "It just puts a huge exclamation point on the support of the bid and the support of the Olympic movement and the respect for the movement and the respect for the IOC members themselves." (source)
Another committee member said it was the "icing on the cake" to have Obama make the bid in person.
And as we all now know, despite all this effort...Chicago lost the bid to Rio de Janiero. In the FIRST round of voting.
Personally, I was shocked when I heard the announcement. I thought the Europeans were still swooning over our dear leader...
Does this say anything about Obama's politcal capitol or is it indicative of Chicgo-style politics taking place on the IOC? Was this an international embarrassment for the Obama White House...to have invested so much to be shot down...and in the first vote?
Truthfully, I found all the effort a bit embarrassing. Once again, making the office of the President a little too common...and then to do all that and lose?