Overlooking Hillary A Mistake?

BARACK Obama's decision not to pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate may well condemn him to defeat in November.

At least that's the stark evidence from the latest polling, which shows white women moving in droves to the new John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket, no doubt attracted by the historic choice of Alaska Governor Palin.

Obama seems in danger of repeating the Al Gore mistake of 2000 when he refused to involve the Clintons in his race, and lost narrowly in states such as Arkansas he would almost certainly have won if Bill Clinton campaigned for him.

Why Obama did not swallow his pride and pick Clinton, who would no doubt have ensured him victory, is just one mystery of a puzzling election season when surprises such as the Palin pick transform the race.

Back in 1960 John F. Kennedy had the good sense to pick Lyndon Johnson, even though he could not stand the Texas senator. Johnson duly delivered Texas and the White House to Kennedy.

The extraordinary turnaround in polling after the Republican convention last week has caught everyone by surprise.

As the Los Angeles Times noted when weighing the latest polls, "The most surprising results - and surely the most disturbing for the freshman Illinois senator's camp - are the immense gains McCain has made among white women following the Republican National Convention and the well-received prime-time speech by Palin."

The fact is that in an earlier poll before the conventions female voters were 50-42 in Obama's favor. Now one of the latest polls shows women at 53-41 for McCain.

That's a massive 20-point shift, which is due in huge part to the addition of a woman to the Republican ticket for the first time in the 164-year history of the GOP.

Obama, in contrast, got very little bounce for his Joe Biden pick, despite widespread praise for the choice. We wonder if he had it all over again who his choice would be.

Kennedys Weighed In

THE recent unfortunate statement by Obama casting doubt on the future of the special U.S. envoy to Ireland went down badly in many quarters - and especially with the Kennedys.

The outcry from Irish Americans over the envoy issue certainly did not help Obama in key states where the ethnic Catholic vote is critical.

It appears that several members of the Kennedy family weighed in after the statement became public, including several of Robert Kennedy's kids. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith was also understood to be irate.

Of course, Courtney Kennedy, Robert's daughter, is married to Paul Hill, one of the Guildford Four, who has kept a close eye on Northern Ireland for the family.

The Kennedys played a big role in securing the new advisory team for Obama on Irish issues, as was reported in the Irish Voice last week.

They, like others, were incredulous that Obama would seek to change or even put it up for discussion to change the most successful Irish policy in American history.

Neal Was Furious

ANOTHER politician who was furious at the Obama envoy statement was Congressman Richie Neal from Massachusetts, head of the Friends of Ireland in Congress.

Neal, who has spent decades involved in Irish issues, was not consulted on the statement and saw the problems with it immediately after it was released.

It is really extraordinary that the original statement was not run by Neal or his staff, or was it punishment for his support of Hillary Clinton as some assume?

Neal will never admit it publicly, but his assessment of the way the issue was initially handled was that the Obama people were not seeking a broad enough consensus on the statement before they released it before the Democratic convention.

Irish Night in Ohio?

IRISH organizations in southern Ohio, Ground Zero for the battle in that battleground state, are seeking to hold an Irish candidate's night in the near future as the election counts down.

Analysts have stated that the area around Cincinnati will be the key voting block for whoever wins the election.

Local AOH and union leaders of Irish extraction are working on an event that could certainly prove attractive to the candidates that would take place in the next few weeks. Were McCain or Obama to attend it would be a major coup for the Irish group.