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British Catholic journalist: Obama pandered to Irish audience

Catholic World News - May 27, 2011

In a critique of two recent speeches delivered by US President Barack Obama--one in London, one in Dublin--William Oddie of the Catholic Herald concludes that the president's address to the British audience was "a little pompous" and leaden, but his speech in Ireland was shameless pandering.

“There was something deeply fraudulent about the whole operation,” says Oddie. “Not so much in his implied claim to be the kind of Irish American that the Irish voter back home identifies with. The real implied claim was that his values were Irish values. And his real values, quite simply, are such that if at College Green he had spelled them out in any detail, that adoring crowd would have become at first embarrassed, and then hostile.”

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: impossible - May. 28, 2011 11:36 PM ET USA

    Obama did what he does best. He's an empty suit skilled at rhetoric empty of meaning. But he can sure make it sound good. He belongs in Hollywood, not in the White House.

  • Posted by: GymK - May. 28, 2011 1:51 PM ET USA

    I'm 100% Irish, Catholic and American. Let's "give the Devil his due," Lads! It truly was a great speech in the ancient traditions of Irish Blarney and American B.S.! If you understand the fun-loving Irish People, you would know that no one in Ireland believed a word of it - but wasn't it grand to hear it! Lighten up Lads! Don't you ever read happy novels or go to fictional movies or daydream of a better life! It's like believing in leprechauns -- but not real! It was a fun-filled moment.

  • Posted by: FrMatthewG - May. 28, 2011 11:12 AM ET USA

    Be that as it may, I have a good Catholic friend - an Irishman who, like me, is usually not fan of Obama precisely because of Obama's policies - who really liked the way Obama handled himself in Ireland, and found his speech encouraging. If it was pandering, it was very effective; but maybe there was a bit of sincerity in there too. Maybe he really wanted to give them (as well as himself) a boost. Can't we give him the benefit of the doubt?

  • Posted by: Baseballbuddy - May. 28, 2011 9:55 AM ET USA

    Did the Irish really want Obama to tell them the truth about their craving for riches that ended up running their country into the ground - and possible helping to drag the rest of the EU with it? Definitely not. Of course, he really had nothing to say to them but give them a few uplifting words and to have a bit of good old fun. Oddie's diatribe was over the top. Let's move on.

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