As March 17 draws near, the spirit of wearing green and celebrating Irish culture on St. Patrick's Day strikes all kinds of people. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is cashing in on the season by offering special “O'Bama” campaign merchandise with a bit of a mistake.
The Error Made on O'Bama Special Re-Election Campaign Merchandise
The merchandise at the Barack Obama online campaign site includes a $30 t-shirt and a $25 two-glass set with an "O'Bama" design featuring a big four leaf clover. The site encourages visitors to gear up for St. Patrick's Day in style with a fun O'Bama tee.
The "O'Bama" St. Patrick's Day tee and glass set offered at the online campaign store both feature a four-leaf clover. The actual symbol of Ireland is a three-leaf clover.
According to 101.9 Lite FM, a four leaf clover has its own special meaning. Each leaf stands for something different. The first leaf means hope, the second leaf is faith, the third is love and the fourth is luck. Perhaps President Obama wanted to bring these positive elements to his re-election campaign.
The New York Times reports Dave Hunt, a lifelong Democrat from Manhattan and owner of an Irish saloon, noticed the four-leaf clover on the O'Bama campaign merchandise. The three-leaf clover, a shamrock, is the symbol of Ireland.
Hunt referred to it as a pebble in his shoe when three-leaf clovers are interchanged with four-leaf clovers. He admitted people do it all the time. Hunt continued, “But if they were going to go to the trouble of doing a T-shirt with the O and the apostrophe – which I think is very clever- someone on the staff should have gone to the trouble of finding out how many leaves to put on the clover.”
Executive director of the American Irish Historical Society, Christopher Cahill, said just about everything associated with St. Patrick is legend. According to tradition, St. Patrick used the three-leaf clover to help illustrate the Holy Trinity.
Cahill did indicate the lucky four-leaf clover is not the normal symbol for Ireland. The shamrock has three leaves and the name comes from seamróg, which means “little clover.”
While Hunt did not order the O'Bama merchandise, he said he would not send back a full glass. He admitted there was not a glass he would refuse to drink from.
On Wednesday, an Obama spokesperson was questioned about the logo and promised to check it out.
President Obama's Irish Roots
Politico reported the email sent to Obama supporters expressed St. Patrick's Day is around the corner. It encouraged recipients to show their support for Barack Obama, a presidential candidate with Irish roots.
Obama discovered his Irish ancestry while he was on the campaign trail. Last year, President Obama and the First Lady visited Ireland and stopped in Moneygall. It is a town of less than 300 people where his great-great-grandfather , Falmouth Kearney, was born. Moneygall is located in County Offaly.
Obama jokingly said to the crowd, “My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas, and I've come home to find the apostrophe we lost somewhere along the way.”
President Obama's Trip to Ireland
Last year President Obama addressed a crowd of about 25,000 at the College Green in Dublin. Ireland was his first stop on a six-day tour of Europe. Obama made an outdoor speech expressing how Ireland and the United States will recover from tough economic times. He also stressed the strong ties between Ireland and the U.S. fostered by millions of Americans with Irish ancestry.
According to NPR, Moneygall residents looked forward to President Obama's visit and their houses were freshly painted for the occasion. Obama shook hands everywhere along the way and stopped for a pint of Guinness at Ollie Hayes' local pub.
Obama stated he was warmed by Irish hospitality and the pint of beer. He expressed the peace process in Northern Ireland was an inspiration to the world. President Obama also helped plant a tree at Phoenix Park in Dublin.
Ireland's Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, extended an invitation to millions of Irish-Americans, stating, “we, your Irish family, are right here to welcome you to follow your president home.” Kenny expressed the offer to come to Ireland is for anyone who is Irish by blood, marriage or desire.
While Obama was celebrating his Irish roots, he also indicated you do not have to be Irish to appreciate the strong connection between Ireland and the United States. He said the countries were bound by history, friendship and shared values. Below is a video of President Obama being greeted by his cousin, Henry Healy, in Moneygall, Ireland.
Whether the clover has three leaves or four, St. Patrick's Day is a reminder for everyone to celebrate Irish culture and look for a little bit o' luck.
Image Source: BarackObama.com