The White House abruptly announced Monday that it had scuttled plans to hold the coming G-8 economic summit in Chicago and would instead host world leaders at the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland's mountains north of Washington.
It was an unusually late location change for a large and highly scripted international summit and came with little explanation from the White House. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff who personally lobbied President Barack Obama to hold the summit in Chicago, was informed of the change only Monday.
White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor simply said Camp David, the rustic mountain retreat at an altitude 1,840 feet (560 meters) and 62 miles (100 kilometers) from Washington, 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 still would host the NATO summit in his Chicago hometown on May 20-21.