March 17th, 2009
11:37 AM ET
9 years ago

O'bama celebrates St. Patrick's Day


Watch the White House fountain go green. (Photo Credit: CNN/Becky Brittain)

(CNN) – Just call him President O'bama.

President Obama is celebrating Ireland Tuesday, welcoming Irish leaders to the Oval Office for St. Patrick’s Day - and turning the White House fountain water green.

The president, along with Vice President Joe Biden — who often points to his own Irish Catholic roots - will receive Taoiseach Brian Cowen and first minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson and his deputy, Martin McGuiness, at the White House Tuesday. The president is set to participate in the traditional shamrock ceremony, where Taoiseach Cowen will present him with a bowl of shamrock, an event honored by past presidents.

But a touch of a Chicago tradition has come to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The White House fountains have been dyed green to mimic Chicago’s tradition of dyeing the river green for St. Patrick’s Day. White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers made the suggestion to the Obamas and they “loved it,” according to a White House aide.

President Obama also took the holiday to announce his intent to nominate the ambassador to Ireland. In a statement released Tuesday, President Obama said Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Daniel Rooney will become the highest-ranking diplomat to Ireland.

Later in the day, the president and Irish leaders will head to Capitol Hill for Speaker Nancy Pelosi's St. Patrick's Day lunch. Irish festivities will continue into the evening as the first family hosts a holiday reception in the White House. The Obamas will welcome several traditional Irish music groups for a St. Patrick’s Day party in the East Room and State Dining Room, including have invited Shannon Rovers, the official pipe band of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Festival, along with Celtic Thunder, a group of five male Celtic singers. Also on the program will be Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Ellie

    Cool. Way to go President Obama!

    March 17, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |

    The Republicans are still GREEN with envy that Barack won!!

    March 17, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. green beer day

    Happy St. Patrick's Mr. Pres

    March 17, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Lyndsay, Chi-town, Land of Green Waters

    Who is Barack Obama??? O'bama – Sounds a little.....IRISH!!

    March 17, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. phoenix86

    Obama is going to introduce a $3 TRILLION 2010 budget. He should lay off the booze.

    March 17, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Lori

    Hopefully, with the luck of the Irish, the GOP will continue down their road of extinction!

    March 17, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The O'Bamas are truly the most festive First Family we've had in a while. The green water coming out of the fountain is a cool touch. I wonder what's the spread going to be at Speaker Pelosi's luncheon.

    March 17, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. Steph

    Before the racist Rethugs start their negative comments...Our president has authentic Irish roots. Look it up! Fox News even reported on it.

    I love the green fountain!

    March 17, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Mobius

    Are you serious?!? "O'bama"?

    If MY last name were "O' anything", I'd be O'ffended.

    March 17, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. patNY

    what a waste of tax payers' money, dying the fountain green! how many babies have to go without formula and clean diapers just so that the Obamas can see green water from their windows!

    March 17, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. cathy smithson

    Dying the fountains of the White House green. Another low class act from Obama. I am afraid the polish is off the once highly respected White House, what is next a lawn sale? THis is another example of low class behaviour from these two. I am apalled. The White House is the peoples house, so please show some respect for that grand and historic building. This is a true embarassment to all real Americans.

    March 17, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. P. Y.

    What a refreshing way to celebrate ? The fountain looks great.

    March 17, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Marylander

    God bless you President O'bama. It is so wonderful to see the world embrace us again in friendship. Despite the tough times there are many glimmers of hope if we look for them.

    March 17, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Brian Crooks

    As a Chicagoan, it warms my heart to see a green fountain at the White House. Maybe they should grow some ivy too 🙂

    March 17, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. buckeye

    How dare he dye the fountain green!!!!!!

    How much taxpayers money did he spend!!!!!!!!!

    I bet his buddy Rezko was responsible!!!!!!!

    Okay, bitter Republicans and Hillary-fans...I wrote your comment for treat 🙂

    March 17, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Green beer

    Great,lets all get drunk and go out and have car accidents,to celebrate the end of a potato famine.They also had a brain famine that continues until this day.

    March 17, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "May we have the hindsight to know where you've been,
    The foresight to know where we are going,
    And the insight to know when we have gone too far."

    March 17, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Sniffit

    "May we have the hindsight to know where we've been,
    The foresight to know where we are going,
    And the insight to know when we have gone too far."

    March 17, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Fitz in Texas

    Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

    March 17, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Brian Crooks

    @ Pat NY: How much money do you really think it costs to dye some water?! You can probably buy a whole crate of food coloring for like a hundred bucks. Get over yourself. Should the First Family also be eating ramen noodles and washing their clothes with homemade soap to save every penny possible?

    March 17, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. DOC

    I personally never understood why Americans celebrate an Irish Catholic holy-day.

    "St. Patrick's feast day was placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding[2] in the early part of the 17th century, although the feast day was celebrated in the local Irish church from a much earlier date. St. Patrick's Day is a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland."

    March 17, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. KG, Twin Cities

    Tell me, Green Beer, are you this obtuse every day of the year or just on St. Paddy's Day only?

    Happy St. Pat's Day!

    From a genuinely Irish person

    March 17, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. spring


    March 17, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Hope

    it is so wonderful that we now have a truly "living" first family in the white house. love the green fountain. america is once again alive with hope and trust and that will spread world wide.

    March 17, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Joyce

    He knows his genealogy. I am so impressed with him, and the way he is doing his job. Keep it up.

    March 17, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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