White House offered Ireland ambassadorship to GOP Rep. KingBy Ken Bazinet
NY Daily News
June 16, 2009
WASHINGTON - The White House dangled the ambassadorship to Ireland in front of GOP Rep. Pete King, even before that coveted post went to the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Daily News has learned.
King (R-L.I.) chose to remain in Congress despite the Democrats' desire to wipe out all the Republican members of Congress in the Northeast.
"I'm shocked [King] didn't pursue it," said an inside source. "He loves Ireland almost as much as he loves the U.S."
King, who embraces his Irish roots, was a key player in peace talks between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland during the Clinton administration.
Despite some random incidents of violence, that peace has held for more than a decade.
The GOP lawmaker, who regularly visits Ireland, declined to comment on the offer made by White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
"I talk to Rahm about about a lot of things, but I keep those conversations private," he said.
King has long respected Emanuel as a man who keeps his word, but still has no doubt that Obama's top aide would target his House seat if the opportunity arose. Now that Obama has tapped GOP Rep. John McHugh to be his Army secretary, there are only two Republican congressmen remaining in New York state.
Obama named Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney to be ambassador to Ireland on St. Patrick's Day.