The White House announced on Monday that it will not hold the upcoming G-8 economic summit in his hometown of Chicago and instead will host world leaders at the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland.
The last-minute change for the highly publicized international summit reportedly came as a bit of a surprise to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff who personally lobbied President Barack Obama to anchor the event in his hometown, according to the Washington Post. But it may work out for everyone all around, reports show.
White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor simply said that 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. He said security and the possibility of protests were not factors in the decision, noting that Obama would still host the NATO summit in his hometown of Chicago from May 20-21.
The White House said the G-8 summit would take place May 18-19.
The White House announced plans last summer to hold both summits back-to-back in Chicago, giving the president a high-profile opportunity to tout his foreign policy and diplomatic credentials on his home turf in an election year.
The idea of moving the G-8 to Camp David was raised to the president a few weeks ago, a senior administration official said, adding that the president was intrigued by the novelty of the idea and asked staff whether they could pull off the change.
The official who spoke on condition of anonymity about internal White House thinking.
Adding to the curious nature of the White House announcement was the fact that Obama rarely spends time at his presidential retreat. And unlike many of his predecessors, Obama has never hosted a world leader at Camp David.
While the White House denies speculation that the decision was made for security reasons, it strikes us that Camp David might be easier to secure than the city of Chicago. We do know that Occupy protesters threatened to disrupt the event and that Chicago business leaders had a love-hate relationship with the summit from the start. So it looks as if things will work out for the White House and some Chicago business leaders after all.