The Return of the Al Smith Dinner

In 2004, the Al Smith Dinner did not invite the presidential candidates because one of them was a pro-choice Catholic. But, this year, the tradition returned: white tie and tails, the Cardinal-Archbishop of New York presiding, and both presidential candidates yucking it up. Best lines of the night were John McCain’s joking that "I can’t shake the feeling that some people here are pulling for me. I am delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary" and Barack Obama’s attempt to correct the record: "Contrary to rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Planet Earth."

Michael Sean Winters

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years 9 months ago
They were both hilarious. It was such a nice reprieve from this awful campaign. Just in case anyone is wondering why pro-choice Kerry would not be invited and pro-choice Obama would not, Kerry is Catholic, and so his public departure from Catholic teaching does not just make him wrong, it becomes scandalous. Obama is not Catholic, and so he is just wrong but not scandalous.
9 years 9 months ago
Well, would Nero be an invited guest to the Al Smith dinner? After all, he yucked it up while Rome burned. Last year it was Tony Blair as main guest. I generally support the bishops but why invite a guy that supported the war in Iraq and maybe cooked the books to promote the cause? That would be Tony Blair. That McCain is responsible for his part in promoting the same war is undenied. Isn't it estimated that over 200,000 civilians have been killed and 4 million made refugees. Guess I don't understand the Al Smith dinner philosophy. I can imagine that more children were killed in Iraq and still will be than the Al Smith dinner will ever help. Just who does the Al Smith dinner really benefit and for whose benefit is it performed?

Advertisement
Advertisement

The latest from america

So what does it matter what a celibate woman thinks about contraception?
Helena BurnsJuly 20, 2018
Former US President Barack Obama gestures to the crowd, during an event in Kogelo, Kisumu, Kenya, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo Brian Inganga)
In Johannesburg, Obama gave what some commentators consider his most important speech since he vacated the Oval Office.
Anthony EganJuly 20, 2018
With his "Mass," Leonard Bernstein uses liturgy to give voice to political unease.
Kevin McCabeJuly 20, 2018
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives for the Jan. 6 installation Mass of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society,” says Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection in Rome.