Monday, August 27, 2012
Dolan Not Invited to DNC
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama turned down a chance to have Timothy Cardinal Dolan deliver a prayer at the Democratic National Convention after Dolan told Democrats he would be “grateful” to deliver a blessing in Charlotte.
Dolan — considered the top Catholic official in the nation, as head of the Archdiocese of New York and president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops — tipped off Democrats a few weeks ago that he had agreed to deliver the prime-time benediction at the Republican convention in Tampa next week, Dolan’s spokesman Joseph Zwilling told The Post.
“He wanted to make sure that they knew that this was not a partisan act on his part and that he would be just as happy and grateful to accept an invitation from the Democrats as he would to have received one from the Republicans,” said Zwilling.
“He has not been contacted by them” since, he added.
A senior Obama campaign official said yesterday that the Democrats would have a “high-ranking” Catholic at the convention, but indicated the arrangements weren’t yet final.
“I can’t announce it because the person hasn’t got their plane ticket,” said the official.
Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher would say only, “The Catholic clergy will be an important part of a diverse community of interfaith leaders represented in Charlotte.”
Obama and Dolan have clashed publicly over a health-care law requiring employers to provide abortion coverage.
Dolan and other groups filed suit against the rule, claiming it forces church-related groups to act against their conscience.
Still, Dolan invited both Obama and Mitt Romney to his annual Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York City in October.
“The Republicans are smart enough to get the ‘pope of America,’ and the Democrats are stupid enough not to invite him,” said Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League, who said he spoke with Dolan yesterday.
“The Catholic vote is the most critical vote. They’re the wild card,” Donohue told The Post. “So, why wouldn’t you ingratiate yourself to the pope of America and send a wink and a nod to Catholics? That’s just good politics.”
Former Mayor Ed Koch, an Obama supporter who said he likes Dolan, said, “The Republicans are very smart to ask him.”
Romney, a Mormon, is playing for Catholic votes in other ways, even including an image of the late Pope John Paul II in a campaign ad and making references on the stump to running mate Paul Ryan’s Catholic faith.
“That kind of narrow play isn’t gonna get them very far,” said another senior Democratic campaign official. Obama, who split the Catholic vote with John McCain in 2008, will need to limit defections to hold on to states like Wisconsin, where the polls are tightening.
Although Dolan pledges that his prayers won’t be “partisan,” he is praying that Hurricane Isaac — now steaming through the Caribbean — won’t spoil the festivities in Tampa. “I’m sure yes that he would keep that in mind as part of his regular daily prayers,” said Zwilling.
at 9:15 AM