SINGAPORE – A day before the crucial vote, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (search) joined the New York delegation on Tuesday for a homestretch round of lobbying aimed at convincing the International Olympic Committee to award the city the 2012 Summer Games.
The former first lady was put to work immediately. Before she could even have her first bite of breakfast after a long flight she was taken to meet an IOC member.
"New York City exemplifies Olympic values every single day," she said. "Living in New York is like living in an Olympic Village — you have every language from every corner of the globe."
Clinton noted that the Summer Games have never been held in New York.
"We have lived the Olympics, now I'd like for us to have a chance to host the Olympics," she said.
Clinton, a potential Democratic presidential candidate, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, deflected questions at a news conference about possible political ramifications of the senator's role in the bid campaign.
"This is not a political thing, it's a New York thing," said Bloomberg, asserting that it was important to convince IOC delegates that the bid has bipartisan support.
Three of New York's main rivals — Paris, London and Madrid — are sending their countries' top government leaders to Singapore to lobby in person for their bids, whereas U.S. President George Bush is not coming.
But Bloomberg said no hidden meaning should be read into this. Bush, he said, "couldn't be happier" that Clinton had made the trip.
"Just the logistics of moving a president around in this day and age, with all the security, really takes away from the focus on the Games," Bloomberg said.
New York has long been considered to be trailing Paris and London in the five-city race, but the city's deputy mayor and bid chief, Dan Doctoroff, said victory in Wednesday's election was possible.
"It's confusing and hard to predict," he said. "This is a completely open race. We feel based on the feedback we've received from members of the IOC that we've got a chance."