The Irish Times has a nice story on Dan Rooney welcoming Obama to Dublin next month, but buries the lede: the Steelers patriarch says he may give up his ambassador duties to come back home and campaign for the president next year. (His diplomatic skills could probably help with the NFL lockout too.)
UPDATE: Rooney released the following statement this afternoon:
Statement by U.S. Ambassador Daniel M. Rooney
Some readers have drawn the incorrect conclusion from my comments to The Irish Times on April 23rd, 2011. I was asked what I could do to help President Obama in the next election and I responded that the best thing I could do would be to help him campaign. Were I to do so, it would require my resignation as Ambassador to Ireland. However, I am very pleased with my accomplishments to date and I intend to continue to carry out my duties.
From the Times:
In Dublin, Rooney maintains his Pittsburgh habits. He attends Mass every morning, and watches Steelers matches on a Slingbox media device. “I miss the games. I miss talking to the players often,” he says.
More than 100 staff at the US embassy in Ballsbridge are a substitute team. Rooney is a grandfatherly figure, stopping to greet secretaries and telephone operators by name, eating in the canteen with his employees.
The ambassador loves his life in Ireland, but as Obama’s unconditional fan, he’s thinking of returning to the US soon.
“I would probably have to resign to campaign for President Obama’s re-election,” Rooney says. “I think that would be the number one thing I can do for him, and I’d be willing to do so. He’s the best man for the job, without question.”
Irish Times photo