"This event will give the candidates a chance to speak directly to over 8,000 caucus-goers."
Harkin's Backing Vital
OF course, the key endorsement in Democratic Party circles in Iowa is none other than Senator Tom Harkin, who attended an Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform rally earlier this year and is related to European Member of Parliament Marian Harkin, who is from Sligo.
Back in July, Harkin's wife Ruth probably tipped his hand when she endorsed Clinton for president. Her husband has come under strong pressure from the Obama camp since, as he is seen as one of the most liberal members of the Senate, but he has remained neutral.
That will likely change right after the dinner, when Harkin is confidently expected by the Clinton camp to climb on board. Harkin is a member of the Friends of Ireland and is a popular figure at Irish Embassy events.
MEANWHILE, not to be outdone over on the Republican side, plans are already afoot for big bash by Irish American Republicans during the Republican convention being held in Minneapolis next year.
It is expected that White House counselor Ed Gillespie will be special guest of honor at a major Irish American Republicans event. Gillespie now is a key figure in the Bush White House, having returned to his old haunt to help the president out in his final year.
In addition, Republicans will be out in force at the economic conference to be held in Belfast next May to coincide with the first anniversary of the power-sharing government.
There is even talk that President George W. Bush may drop in to the proceedings, which would be an incredible boost for the conference. Others who may attend include Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.