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Intelligencer: 19 - 25 Nov 2008
November 19, 2008
Hillary a Popular Choice
SENATOR Hillary Clinton as secretary of state would be good news indeed for both Ireland and her Irish American backers.
The news that she was under consideration was a major surprise to her supporters in the Irish American community who raised over $3 million for her in the primary battle.
Indeed, she has an Irish fundraiser arranged for this weekend organized by Declan Kelly of FTI, the global business advisory firm.
Clinton could also be a powerful voice of support for Ireland within an Obama cabinet, especially on the issue of repatriating profits by U.S. multinationals in Ireland which would have a profoundly negative impact on the Irish economy.
Given that Obama appears to be hiring wholesale from the old Clinton administration, there is no doubt that the Clinton team will be very evident in the new administration.
A former Clinton staffer and expert on Ireland, Sean Sweeney, has been appointed chief of staff to Rahm Emanuel, who of course will be White House chief of staff.
Greg Craig, who defended Bill Clinton during impeachment, is already on board as White House counsel, while Tony Lake, former national security advisor, and Jim Steinberg, his former deputy are both in the running for major foreign policy jobs.
Obama Irish Inaugural Ball
ON January 20, the night of the historic Obama inauguration, the Irish American Democrats group will celebrate with their own inaugural ball to be held at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington.
The ball is the brainchild of Stella O’Leary, head of Irish American Democrats, who worked hard on behalf of the Obama ticket though her first allegiance was to Clinton.
According to O’Leary there is already incredible interest in the ball and the events surrounding the inauguration. Late night dancing and celebrating is promised, and given that it’s an Irish party the expectation is that many senior Democrats will drop by.
“It’s been so long since Democrats ran this town that I think people are just ready to let loose and celebrate,” said O’Leary, who is reporting a near sellout. More information can be had by emailing
McAuliffe to Run for Office
ONE person likely to be at the inaugural ball is Terry McAuliffe, for so long the go-to man for money raising for the Clintons.
These days McAuliffe is reinventing himself as a politician and will make a run for governor of Virginia, which is up in 2009.
McAuliffe will face a tough battle for the Democratic nomination, particularly against Brian Moran, a fellow Irish American and a member of the Virginia Legislature who is the early favorite.
Moran, brother of Congressman Jim Moran, was recently honored at the Stars of the South Irish event in Atlanta and wowed those present with an impassioned speech about his Irish roots.
McAuliffe is originally from Syracuse and Moran is a New England native, which makes them both Yankees running in the suddenly Democratic south. McAuliffe has an incredible fundraising network built up during the Clinton era and will not be short of cash.
It promises to be a tough battle for the nomination and for the general election itself.
McAleese for West Coast
IRISH President Mary McAleese will be visiting the West Coast next month and will give a major address at the University of San Francisco where she will receive an honorary doctorate on December 11.
The university has a long and storied Irish history and their sports teams, most notably the basketball side, still wear the green and orange of Ireland.
The university stated that McAleese and her presidency represent a “commitment to a common good that transcends the interests of particular individuals or groups and reasoned discourse rather than coercion as the norm for decision making.”
McAleese will also be officially opening the new Gaelic games field in San Francisco, which is located on Treasure Island between San Francisco and Oakland.
It is a tremendous feat for the local Irish to put together their own field, especially given the lack of emigration. However, a strong youth movement in Irish sport has taken hold in San Francisco, so there is little fear of the pitch not being used. Up to 30,000 kids now dabble in Gaelic games according to the San Francisco Chronicle, an amazing number.
Last year the GAA got permission from the city to tear down an old jail and lease 13.5 acres, the Chronicle reports. Over the past six months, volunteers created the new playing venues. The association is raising $5.2 million for the work, which is continuing.
“We decided to make part of this island a recreational destination, and one of the first groups that jumped in was these Irish guys,” said Mirian Saez, the city’s director of Treasure Island operations. “They’ve done a great job.”
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