The LuLac Edition #547, August 24th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: LACKAWANNA COUNTY RECORDER OF DEEDS EVIE REFALKO McNULTY WITH SENATOR OBAMA AND OUR CONVENTION LOGO.
Jim and Evie McNulty arrived in Denver last night around midnight. The Power couple of Northeastern Pennsylvania politics are geared up for the week of festivities in the Mile High City. The Mayor, no stranger to the city and its politicos (he served on various committees with former Mayor and then Transportation Secretary Pena) advised me that the excitement is building for the Democrats as they prepare to nominate the Obama/Biden ticket. The former chief executive of the city of Scranton says that with the addition of the Delaware Senator, Scranton will be in the national limelight once more. As a matter of fact, the Pennsylvania delegation has choice seating near the front of the speaker's podium at the Pepsi Center. Mr. McNulty said that his wife, an elected Clinton delegate is still feeling the effects of a political buzz from a New York Times On Line Blog by Katherine Seelye written in March of this year. Certainly not detrimental to her support of Senator Clinton or her eventual committment to Obama/Biden, the story is a great read and gives you an insight into the trabsition one must make from a primary campaign to a general election if they are true blue Dems.And both Senator Obama and Mrs. McNulty are that if nothing else. From the New York Times On Line, here's that article about one of the Lac's delegates to the Democratic Convention.
By Katharine Q. Seelye
SCRANTON, Pa. — Evie Rafalko McNulty helped found the Society of Irish Women here 10 years ago, giving the women of this northeast Pennsylvania region something to do on St. Patty’s Day when the all-male Friendly Sons of St. Patrick would meet for its annual dinner.
This year, Ms. McNulty, 48, who is the Lackawanna County Recorder of Deeds and is married to Scranton’s former mayor, James, invited the presidential candidates to speak at what is now the women’s annual dinner. Senator Barack Obama accepted and closed out his St. Patrick’s Day tonight as the guest speaker.
Ms. McNulty was thrilled — except she supports Senator Hillary Clinton.
So when the time came tonight for her to have her official picture taken with Mr. Obama before the dinner, Ms. McNulty demurred.
“I would have felt like a hypocrite,” she told The Caucus after she left the V.I.P. holding room. “I didn’t think it was right.”Such is the challenge that Mr. Obama faces here in what they call Clinton Country. Senator Hillary Clinton’s father’s family is from Scranton and she has already visited the city twice in the last week. The state’s primary is April 22. And perhaps a third of the area is Irish.
Later at the dinner, where Ms. McNulty was the emcee, she passed up on the honor of introducing Mr. Obama herself, giving that privilege instead to a man — state Senator Robert J. Mellow, who is an Obama backer.
Mr. Obama was undeterred. When he bounced up on the dais, he pulled Ms. McNulty close and she obligingly mugged for the cameras.
But some in the audience of nearly 500 women withheld their applause. And the general reaction to his brief speech was relatively subdued, certainly compared with the reaction to Ms. McNulty’s schtick beforehand (“This is Lackawanna County’s ‘Lipstick Jungle’ right here,” she said, gesturing to the dais.)
In his speech, which lasted less than 10 minutes, Mr. Obama tried mightily to relate. He said his own family story was familiar to that of Irish Americans, with a distant homeland and a journey across the ocean. He said one of his earliest ancestors had been traced to a small village in Ireland _ later identified by the campaign as Moneygall. That branch of the family eventually settled in “nearby Ohio,” he said; it was not an applause line here.
“It never hurts to be a little Irish when you’re running for the presidency,” Mr. Obama went on, picking up a little steam. But when he mentioned his most prominent Irish-American backer, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, again, the reaction was not the boisterous response one might have expected in a room awash in green.
Of course, the audience was a bit unusual — when Ms. McNulty welcomed the national media, they actually applauded.
In interviews with several women, most said they supported Mrs. Clinton, citing both her experience and her local roots. One exception was Susan Cooper, 53, a college administrator, who said Mr. Obama had “a very clear perspective.” She also said that Mrs. Clinton had too much “baggage” from her husband.
Mr. Obama left the stage with a joke about how there is an apostrophe in his name _ that would make it O’Bama — and said his first name was really Baragh, which he pronounced with a thick brogue. “It’s actually an old Celtic name,” he said.
He plunged into a crowd that seemed happy to mob him, snap photos and shake his hand.
Thank goodness he had swapped out his blue tie for a green one; asked earlier why he had not been wearing green, he said he had lost track of the day, since the big parades were on Saturday. Before the dinner, he borrowed a green tie from an aide.
MILE HIGH MINUTIA
Here is a listing of all of the delegates attending the convention from LuLac land. From the 10th Congressional District: Mary Kate Culkin, Clarks Summit; Ann M. Bursis, Honesdale; Jesse A. Salazar, Dalton; and alternate delegate Julie P. Brennan, State College. From the 11th Congressional District: Evie Rafalko McNulty, Scranton; Rosemary Boland, Scranton; Donald M. Hart, Dunmore; Rita M. Boyle, Mountain Top; and alternate delegate James J. Tait, Drums. Maria Wansacz, wife of state Rep. Jim Wansacz, was chosen as a delegate at-large ..........Governor Rendell made the rounds of the Sunday Talk Shows today appearing on CBS's Face The Nation.....Attorney Todd O'Malley of Scranton who has served on a Biden finance committee in the past aired an interview with the prospective Vice President this morning on Fox 56........Katherine Baker Knoll, battling cancer not in attendance at the convention. She is in the thoughts and prayers of the entire Pennsylvania delegation.....and political observers in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties will be watching with interest tomorrow night as the Democrats unveil a Tribute film to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Kennedy is also facing a cancer challenge. Northeastern Pennsylvania has always been a Kennedy stronghold.