start time, with Vice President Biden introducing President Obama and Prime Minister Kenny. Biden talked fondly of those who decades ago came to the United States from Ireland, saying their's was the "immigrant story of this country."
Biden said Irish immigrants "planted deep roots" and instilled their values in American culture. The Veep added that Irish immigrants helped create a feeling that "anything, anything is possible" in the United States. "That's the Irish of it," Biden said. "My family has felt it. ... All of you have felt it." With that, he introduced the two leaders.
Obama welcomed the guests to the White House, declaring "Happy St. Patrick's Week," as the crowd cheered and hoisted their drinks in the air. (And what were they drinking? Your pooler is glad you asked. Spotted from the press area near the bar: of course, Guinness; lighter beers that could not be identified due to the bartenders' stealthy label placement; white wine; a variety of spirits; ample glasses of champagne; and, in a festive twist, what appeared to be green-colored champagne.)
The president noted that it's not quite St. Patrick's Day, but added: "That doesn't seem to bother any of you." He called the reception "one of my favorite events" because he gets "to welcome my people," a reference to Irish ancestry on his mother's side. He would later note his daughters possess African and Irish blood making them truly American as he continued the immigration theme Biden started. Obama also remarked the remarks were the 30th St. Patrick's Day ones he has made on U.S. or Irish soil in his years as chief executive. And he thanked those from both countries who helped ink recent peace accords in Northern Ireland -- including former Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo., U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland. (Your pooler did not see Sen. Hart in the crowded room.)
While Obama's post-presidency career plans remain unclear, he made a pitch for either Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to nominate him for ambassador to Ireland. "I have not endorsed yet," he said to much laughter. The president managed to slip in his second Chicago reference of the year, noting that city's St. Patrick Day parade will, for the first time, include LGBT organizations. He also tipped his cap to Ireland's embrace of marriage equality. Obama also managed an immigration pitch, calling for a "smarter" and "fairer" U.S. system. In an apparent swipe at GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, Obama said "no wall can ever contain" what immigration does for America.
As he closed, Obama noted this will be "my final St. Patrick's with all of you." The guests, in unison, and loudly, sighed. "Maybe we'll meet in a pub in Dublin," Obama replied.
Prime Minister Kenny wrapped up the festivities by thanking Obama profusely for his leadership at home and abroad, pointing to his signature health care law and stewardship of the global economy, which was on the brink of disaster when he took office. Kenny called Obama's leadership "outstanding" and "steadfast," adding it helped prevent the "Great Recession" from careening into another "Great Depression." He called Obama's years a "triumph of hope over hate." Kenny even compared Obama to St. Patrick -- whose story can be Googled -- because both had "the audacity of hope and the determination to leave the world a better place than he found it." He then presented Obama with the customary bowl of Shamrocks as the crowd cheered, and wrapping the 44th U.S. president's final St. Patrick's Day reception at the White House.
U.S. lawmakers spotted in and around the ornate East Room: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Joseph Crowley of New York, and Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass.
Thus concludes another St. Patrick's Day celebration at the White House. Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day celebrations on Thursday, everyone. Your pooler always advises against drinking and driving. So take Metro after enjoying a few pints of Guinness. Maybe the rail system will be running normally by then. Maybe.