Obama moves G-8 summit from Chicago to Camp David

Olivier Knox

How will it play in Chicago?

As recently as January 25, Chicago's Chamber of Commerce was talking up the economic benefits of hosting the Group of Eight summit of economic powers and playing down the prospects for disruptions that could affect the talks and tarnish the Windy City's image.

On Monday, President Barack Obama pulled the plug on his adoptive hometown's hopes and announced he was moving the annual summit to the super-secure Camp David retreat on Maryland's Catoctin Mountain.

"To facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners, the President is inviting his fellow G-8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19 for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

Asked why Obama had opted to move the summit, which is expected to focus on Europe's debt crisis and ways to boost the global economy, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor emailed that the president felt Camp David "would provide an informal and intimate setting to have a free-flowing conversation."

"He very much looks forward to coming to his hometown for a critically important NATO summit, as planned," Vietor added. That meeting will take place on May 20-21.

The Chicago Chamber of Commerce had no immediate comment. But in a late-February statement, President and CEO Jerry Roper and Lori Healy, executive director of the Chicago G-8 and NATO Host Committee, invited businesses to a briefing to highlight how the two summits "present an exciting opportunity to highlight our extraordinary city to the world."

CBS Radio's Mark Knoller, who keeps painstaking track of presidential doings, wrote on Twitter that "it will be the first time Pres. Obama has hosted foreign leaders at Camp David in his 22 visits to date." He also noted that Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, invited 19 world leaders over the course of 149 visits to the secluded retreat.

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