Barack and Michelle Obama win over the Irish crowd


Until you actually experience Barack and Michelle Obama close up you might wonder what all the fuss is about.

They came into office a year ago with expectations sky high. They may have not lived up to them but make no mistake, they are incredibly talented people who have brought class and distinction to this White House.

Last night I stood about ten feet away as Barack Obama delivered possibly the best speech about Irish and American ties that I have heard.

We were at the White House for the annual St Pat's party in honor of the Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen and what an occasion it was.

Obama's speech touched every chord of memory and meaningful moment in the long history between the two countries.

He ended by quoting George Washington's stirring words about the sons of Erin who rallied to the American standard in the battle against the British.

Before that he spoke of the famine and the dreadful toll on the Irish it took.

But he also talked about the rise form the ghettos of the Irish who fled the Famine and the incredible inspiration they provided for future generations of emigrants from many other cultures as they too battled to gain a foothold in America .

Along the way he noted the 'No Irish Need Apply' signs did not stop them overcoming every obstacle.

The Irish he noted were America's longest allies and continued to stand with them through thick and thin.

Vice President Biden who was also present on the stage nodded in agreement.

There was a clear note of emotion in Obama's voice when he talked about one of those famous Irish, Senator Edward Kennedy whose 'laughter filled these rooms;' from the time of his brother Jack in the White House from 1960 to 1963.

But the legacy for Kennedy he stated would be the laughter and fun from this Irish crowd celebrating his spirit.

Brilliantly put and delivered without a teleprompter I might add. Obama clearly knew his material and cherished the opportunity to work an Irish crowd.

But when it came to the meet and greet it was Michelle who stole the show.

I brought my daughter to the White House. At ten years old I wanted Alana to experience the greatness of America first hand.

She was feeling under the weather and sneezed several times during the speeches.

Michelle Obama came over to her after put her arms around her and told her to feel better.' Let's pose for a picture' she said making Alana's March 17th the most incredible imaginable.

This is a rare First Couple who ooze class and dignity. It was an honor to be in their company this St Pat's Day.

Story / President Obama's great Irish speech – the excerpts / Click here

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