Despite Ryan's Heritage, Ireland Sticks With Obama

'Honorary Irishman' Popular in Land of GOP Veep's Ancestors

By Reuters

Published October 16, 2012.
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A straw poll of 20 people on a recent afternoon found 12 Obama supporters and none for Ryan and running mate Mitt Romney.

Ninety-six percent of people in Ireland who have decided would back Obama and Irish Catholic running mate Joe Biden if they had a vote, according to a September poll of 1,000 people by Gallup International.

“He’s too far right-wing for this part of the world,” said Martin Brett, the former mayor of the county’s capital Kilkenny, who hosted Ryan’s uncle when he came to trace his roots in the region a few years ago.

But tight economic ties with the United States and a soft spot for Irish Americans could yet convince Ireland to embrace a President Romney and Vice President Ryan, he said.

“If they won, the invitations would be in the post,” Brett grinned.

DANGEROUS GROUND

As the country with the second-largest budget deficit in the European Union and recipient of an international bailout, Ireland is dangerous ground for Ryan, whose campaign is based on a promise to slash the United States’ fast-growing debt pile.

The Wisconsin congressman has not endeared himself to his kin by holding their country up as a cautionary tale of bad practice.

Ryan’s web site refers to Ireland 11 times, eight as an example of the economic doom facing the United States if it doesn’t address its budget deficit and three as a rival to the Cayman Islands as a tax haven threatening American jobs.

When Ryan told a crowd in his home state how his great grandfather had fled the Irish potato famine with just the shirt on his back, the crowd lapped it up.

But an Irish historian of the famine, John Kelly, rebuked him days later for espousing a laissez faire economic philosophy he said was strikingly similar to that of British policymakers whom many in Ireland blame for the deaths of millions.


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