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fordfixer
06-26-2009, 08:05 AM
Steelers owner gets warm reception at Senate hearing
Panel questions Rooney, tapped for ambassador to Ireland
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
By Daniel Malloy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09175/979636-100.stm

WASHINGTON -- Steelers owner Dan Rooney took another step toward confirmation as ambassador to Ireland today with an appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr. Rooney could be approved in a vote by the full Senate in the next few days, as there appears to be little to no opposition.

The comments of committee members Edward Kaufman, D-Del., Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. -- the only members who stayed for the entire hearing -- focused on the economic difficulties in Ireland and admiration for Mr. Rooney.

"Mr. Rooney, you're having quite a year," said Mrs. Shaheen. "I'm not going to ask you whether it's better to win the Super Bowl or be nominated to be an ambassador."

"I'm not sure I can answer that," Mr. Rooney replied.

He talked about making sure the strong relationship between the U.S. and Ireland is not "taken for granted." And he said that, as ambassador, he would aspire to leave Dublin frequently for trips around the island.

In brief remarks to reporters after the hearing, Mr. Rooney said it would be difficult to leave an active day-to-day role with the Steelers, but "I really wanted to do something for the country."

President Barack Obama nominated Mr. Rooney to the post on St. Patrick's Day. Mr. Rooney was an early supporter of Mr. Obama during his presidential campaign.

Pennsylvania's two senators -- Democrats Arlen Specter and Bob Casey -- introduced the native son of the commonwealth before departing to attend to other matters.

Mr. Specter said he hoped Mr. Rooney would be confirmed before the Senate breaks for the Fourth of July. "The Senate is known as the saucer that cools the tea, but the Senate is known to move with dispatch as circumstances warrant," Mr. Specter said.

"The sooner there's an Ambassador Rooney in Dublin, the better off we'll be."
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09175/97 ... JXM9L1U4&D (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09175/979636-100.stm#ixzz0JXM9L1U4&D)