The G-8 Summit, where the world's eight largest economies are represented, will be held on May 18-19, but not in the original location of Obama's longtime home in Chicago, which has been planned since last summer, but to the presidential retreat, Camp David.
The Washington Post reports that according to White House Security Spokesperson Timmy Vietor, the move comes because "Camp David, the rustic retreat in the mountains of Maryland, was a setting that would allow for more intimate discussions among the G-8 leaders." The spokesperson continued to stress that the abruptÂ change of plans had nothing to do with the possibility of the likely protests, which have been planned for months. As recently as February 1st, Obama's staff was discussing the Chicago event (in a piece from Boston.com that does not seem to be accessible any longer) Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, said that the event in Chicago would be a "great show".
Does the president really believe that the people will swallow that? That the abrupt change in plans is really for the G-8 leaders so that can have more "intimate" discussions? Has the president even been to the Camp David retreat? It is an interesting move from the man whoemphasizes with Occupy Wall Street, by saying that the movement "expresses what the American People feel".
Chicago officials are probably disappointed in missing out on the opportunity to hold the G-8 Summit, but the residents are most likely relieved. "The city's host committee had estimated it couldÂ cost $40 million to $65 million to stage the events, including the costs for security," according to theÂ Washington Post article. Rahm Emanuel was notified just hours before the change was announced. Gordon Johndroe, who served as National Security Council spokesman for President George W. Bush, said that setting up an international gathering like this takes "immense logistics". So, a last-minute change, just guessing, will most likely cost millions.
The calls for protests have been far and wide, and most likely, Chicago will be a dangerous place come May. Perhaps the mood toÂ protest will be dampened with the shift in plans. According to theÂ Chicago Tribune, "For months, members of the Occupy movement and other protest groups, which include some radical members, have made the Chicago meetings a challenge and rallying call, setting a goal of bringing 50,000 protesters to Chicago." There has already been a buzz that the protesters are still coming to Chicago in May and they have even "declared victory".
It is best that the summit is being moved, but why not just call the leaders to the White House avoid the $65 million dollar fee?