“I am being continually reassured that McCain wants to attend the forum,” John Dearie, the primary organizer of this year’s “flexible forum” told the Echo At presstime Tuesday.
“As yet there’s no date but McCain’s appearance is being coordinated through Pennsylvania,” Dearie said.
The expectation has been that McCain will become the first Republican presidential nominee to attend an Irish American forum and that he will do so at a venue in Philadelphia.
Dearie said that Philadelphia was still top of the list in the context of a McCain appearance, although he was quick to add that the event could be staged anywhere in what he described as the New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. corridor.
“But I am a little concerned being mindful that the (McCain) campaign has reached a phase that is pre-convention mode,” Dearie said.
Dearie said that he was also anxious to hear from the Obama campaign about a forum that was addressed in April by his Democratic rival for the nominiation, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Dearie 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.
Dearie stressed that Obama’s progress towards the Democratic nomination had not been significantly helped by the Catholic vote and the Irish American part of that vote.
But he stressed that both of these would be vital to Obama’s prospects in a presidential election.
“So this is a platform that Obama should jump at,” Dearie said in reference to the series of questions addressing Irish American issues that are built into the forum structure and were previously answered by Senator Clinton.
“But we have had little indication yet as to what Obama’s reaction would be to these Irish issues,” Dearie said.