Days before the Pennsylvania primary, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was gifted with a prized endorsement: that of the owner and chairman of the celebrated Pittsburgh Steelers, Dan Rooney.
"Based on the experiences that I have had in my seventy-five years and my assessment of what I think our nation needs to make real the change that is so needed, I am proud and now feel compelled to endorse Senator Barack Obama," Rooney wrote in an open letter to Keystone staters. "This is not something that I do regularly," Rooney wrote, but "(a)s a grandfather and a citizen of this community I think Barack Obama’s, thoughtful, strategic approach is important for America."
Mr. Obama got his hat handed to him in that contest by now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (though the Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl), but regardless, today President Obama marked St. Patrick’s Day by nominating Rooney — whom he called "a great friend" — to be the Ambassador to Ireland.
After the annual presentation to the president of a bowl of shamrocks by the Prime Minister of Ireland this morning, President Obama told Mr. Rooney: "Congratulations. It’s going to be great."