From the New York Post - h/t to Digi:
By Carl Campanile
WASHINGTON — 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Former Mayor Ed Koch, an Obama supporter who said he likes Dolan, said, “The Republicans are very smart to ask him.”
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.
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.
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.