Obama Announces Rooney as Ambassador to Ireland
By Al Kamen
Lady Luck naturally smiled on Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney on St. Patrick's Day, the day the White House chose to announce his long-expected nomination to be ambassador to Ireland. Rooney, a member of the Football Hall of Fame who led the Steelers to a record six national championships, is a lifelong Republican.
But he was so inspired by Barack Obama that he endorsed and stumped with the candidate, a crucial stamp of approval in a football-crazed and electorally critical swing state.
Rooney, who needs to be confirmed by the Senate for the job, has been long-active in Irish organizations. He co-founded the Ireland Funds, a nonprofit that raises money to support education and the arts in Ireland. In 1976, he established the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, which is awarded to young Irish writers.
Rooney recently told a Pittsburgh radio station he did not endorse or campaign for Obama "with the idea of getting anything." But "if he calls me," Rooney added, "obviously I'm going to say that I'll do anything I can for you."
Dublin sounds pretty good.
Posted at 12:35 PM ET on Mar 17, 2009
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