However, social issues haven’t taken the forefront in 2012’s election.
"It's really all about Ohio. Both candidates are looking to gain footing any way that they can," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, who said working-class Irish American Catholics were one group being targeted.
Similarly, O’Leary’s group of Irish American Democrats is also focused on Ohio and is targeting Cuyahoga County, described as a bellwether Irish area in a state where the election could be decided.
Rick Barrett, a retired anti-drugs officer, had informed Ryan’s campaign about the connection he made between Paul Ryan and his great-great grandparents’ home of Graiguenamanagh. The campaign staff, however, didn’t feel the information was necessary.
"He's [Ryan] a numbers guy. He's concentrating on the future of the country, but maybe he's concentrating on that too much," Barrett said. "Maybe needs to shake hands, pat a few backs and have a pint or two at an Irish bar."
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