March 17th, 2009
11:37 AM ET
13 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. arithmetic is liberal

    As the YouTube hit song says,

    There's no one as Irish as Baraich O'bamaugh.

    LOVE the green fountain, reminds me of spending St. Patrick's Day in Chicago when I was in college...

    March 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. NJ Jim

    It's a beautiful thing! Happy St. Patrick's Day to all, and thank you
    Mr. President!

    March 17, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. B

    Look America now it's official. We have a green-horn in the White House.

    greenhorn definition
    green·horn (grēn′hôrn′)

    1. an inexperienced person; beginner; novice
    2. Now Rare a newly arrived immigrant
    2. a person easily deceived; dupe

    March 17, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. dotjet

    @ Depressed: "The green fountain is our money pouring out of the WhiteHouse……"

    Oh for God's sake! Take a pill and get over it already!

    March 17, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. I Am The Great And Powerful Wizard Of Rush

    Happy St. Pats, President O'Bama

    March 17, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Oregon calling

    I personally think that on Nov. 4, 2008 Americans gave themselves a "Weee bit luck of the Irish!"

    Way to go with the green fountains.

    Peace 🙂

    March 17, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    Happy ST. Paddy day MR. President, happy green day Republicans.

    March 17, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Schweggie

    I wonder if Chairman Obama is going to give PM Robinson a box of Lucky Charms, or maybe a House of Pain CD? Or maybe King Teleprompter will have a clue this time on how to host a dignitary?

    March 17, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. J.P.

    That's not green dye... it's the ink runoff from the overworked printing presses at the US Mint, printing worthless Monopoly money as fast as Obama and the Socialists can spend it.

    Our thrifty founders are surely rolling in their graves.

    March 17, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Doug, new jersey

    "a touch of a Chicago tradition has come to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave"

    Clear Americans know this, it is the tradition of Daly, Blaglibovich, and Obama. It is the worst of this nation, it is all that is dishonest, hateful, anti-American, and selfish, it is the lib-Democrat.

    March 17, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. lexthebomb

    Great timing for the Irish Day festivities at the White House. This tells a lot about the new administration. This has to lift everyones spirits.
    Speaking of spirits; it would be nice to also have some green beer.

    March 17, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Dylan from Minneapolis

    If they really wanted to have a party they should have had the Dropkick Murphy's, Flogging Molly or Chicago's own, The Tossers, stop by!

    March 17, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Way to Mr. President Obama

    March 17, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Ciji Wilson

    To the DEM Tex who implied that the Obamas were spending money on St. Patrick's day to turn the water green, you sound like an idiot. America is a culture of many different races and people. Who knows, you might have someone Irish in your family. Get with the program.

    March 17, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Rachelraye49 - MD

    You could not have chosen a better person to be Ambassador to Ireland. Mr. Rooney is such an upstanding man. Hey we all need a little Irish in us.

    March 17, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Mari

    As usual even on St. Paddy's Day the GOPers are out enforce.


    March 17, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. Ughh

    Like we needed another reminder that DC is looking more and more like Chicago every day.

    March 17, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Houff

    I don't suppose any liberals will bother to make any mention of the so-called Constitutional "separation of church and state." Where is that fellow Newdow when Catholic Saints are venerated by a Democrat President? (Note: I don't have a problem in the world with celebrating St. Patrick's Day at the White House with a democrat in charge, just as it didn't bother me that the White House put up a Christmas tree when the GOP ran things.– just noting a minor double standard.)

    March 17, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Burgher

    The Fountain is spewing green blood from the money that the Whitehouse is spending on itslef.

    Party Hardy O'dudes and pay the piper later.

    March 17, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Shooky

    @ Sharon
    "It is refreshing to finally see a first family use the White House to symbolize what America is really about"
    ~Yep, it symbolizes what America is really about...Ireland?

    People on this site try to turn some of the most obscure stories into a platform of worship Obama. Lincoln freed the slaves, Reagan ended the Cold War without a bullet being fired, Obama made the fountain green. THANK GOD FOR THESE MEN!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

    March 17, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. obama lied

    OMG, how tacky. Please lock michell obama in the basement.
    You're turning the White House into a gutter. Your lack of taste is sickening.

    March 17, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. B Rock

    Not only can Barack walk on water, he can also change the color.....GO BARACK!!

    March 17, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. california kid

    omg I am so sick of these crazy Obama lovers.

    March 17, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Gene

    How much of the tax payer's money did he waste on that green dye? This is an outrage!

    Just kidding 🙂

    March 17, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Tina

    What does a gallon of food coloring cost these days? 10 bucks? Some of you need to get over yourselves.

    I love when they dye the Chicago River green each year and I love the touch of home our 1st family has added to the White House.

    March 17, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
1 2 3