“I’m very confident about doing this, we’re making progress and it looks as if we’ll be in Philadelphia, or immediately outside,” John Dearie, the former New York assemblyman and the prime organizer of the forum, told the Echo.
A forum event in Philadelphia would be to facilitate Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate.
Dearie said that both the McCain campaign headquarters and its Pennsylvania camp had been positive and supportive of efforts to attract McCain to the forum.
“It looks good for the end of July or early August,” he said.
The gathering expectation in recent months has been that McCain will become the first Republican presidential nominee to attend an Irish American forum and that he will do so in Philadelphia because it is a state with a significant Irish American politician and very much in play in the November election.
Dearie previously said that Philadelphia was top of the list in the context of a McCain appearance, although he was quick to add that the forum was flexible and could be staged anywhere in what he described as the New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. corridor.
Dearie said that as soon as McCain had made an appearance at the forum the organizers of the event would focus on Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama.
Dearie, again in an earlier interview, said that if there was any candidate who needed to address issues critical to Irish Americans it was Barack Obama.
He said that the Obama campaign “appeared” to be aware of this.
“We are anxious for him to step up and I’m confident he will step up because we know he has a lot to say,” Dearie said.
The Irish American Presidential Forum was first held in New York in 1984. It has never attracted a Republican nominee so a McCain appearance would be a significant groundbreaker.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton kicked off this year’s “flexible forum” in early April in New York when still a candidate for the White House.