Last Updated:December 1 @ 12:13 pm

Cardinal suing Obama invites him and Romney to dinner

By Rachel Zoll

NEW YORK (AP) - New York Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan is suing the Obama administration, but he's inviting President Barack Obama to dinner anyway.

Dolan has asked both Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to attend the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation charity dinner on Oct. 18, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York said Tuesday.

Romney has accepted. The Obama campaign hasn't said publicly whether the president will attend, but Dolan's spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, said Obama has accepted, too.

The Archdiocese of New York is among more than 40 Catholic organizations, charities and schools that are suing over Obama's mandate that employers provide health insurance that covers birth control. Evangelical, Jewish and other religious leaders have joined U.S. bishops in pressing for a broader religious exemption, including for faith-affiliated hospitals, colleges and social service groups.

As the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dolan has said the White House policy is "strangling" the church. Obama has offered an accommodation, but Catholic leaders and others have said the changes don't go far enough.

The Smith dinner, in its 67th year, is a white-tie event at the Waldorf-Astoria that is customarily attended by presidents and candidates in an election year. Among the speakers have been John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. In 2008, Obama and Republican presidential nominee John McCain attended. The speeches are mostly self-deprecating and lighthearted, and the donations go to needy children.

Despite his differences with Obama, Dolan held to the tradition of inviting the president because "this is not a partisan event," Zwilling said. "It is an evening to put politics aside and come together in a spirit of civility."

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  1. Amfer FergComment by Amfer Ferg
    August 8, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

    Wow! Tradition or not, if I were Romney I’d politely decline – no explanation needed. BTW, I am Catholic.

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      August 8, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

      WRONG! In 2008, McCain’s (I can’t stand the fraud calling himself “conservative”) made fun of his physical handicap. BHO’s “self deprecating” speech was more like a self-promotion speech.

      obummer was riding high in 2008, but now he has sunk to more racially motivated and disgusting proclamations. He has achieved a level where he cannot open his mouth without condemning personal effort and promoting racial divide. I think Romney will earn some enthusiastic laughter and applause. In contrast, especially now that the world knows what the bumpkin IS, the most the bummer will get is “polite” applause and snickers.

      We ALL need to see the contrast..

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  2. Helena R. CoronaComment by Helena R. Corona
    August 8, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan, I won’t say that the President who claims he is a “Christian” will put his foot in his mourth (again) but should he really show up to this event, it will be an opportunity to see the real difference between what he says he represents and the REAL people who do help our citizens with out expectations of reward. This will also be an opportunity for our well versed Cardinal to perhaps have an aside with the President and the candidate to voice our stand on the issues that mean so much to our country and its personal and religious freedoms. We hope anyway!

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  3. CharieComment by Charie
    August 8, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

    Cardinal Dolan was Bishop of Milwaukee and he’s well loved there. I’ve heard him speak on the radio a few times and he is intelligent, very witty as well as humorous. Oh, I almost forgot………………. I’m not a Catholic.

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  4. newrepublicanComment by newrepublican
    August 13, 2012 @ 8:51 am

    I disagree with giving Obama (a person in the state of GRAVE SIN) a platform on which to pontificate. If the platform provides a level of credibility that is not deserved, it MUST be refused or one is similarly culpable of the same grave sin. I am a practicing Catholic and a strong supporter of stopping this goddless regime and open the eyes of Catholics who are so caught up in their social justice programs they have lost sight that this SHOULD be the role of the Church and NOT of the government.

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