Thomas Molloy: Kenny transforms himself into affable and energetic salesman when abroad
THE Taoiseach's job description includes that of Ireland's salesman-in-chief. Whatever you think about Enda Kenny's day-to-day management skills, he is the best salesman-in-chief we have had in decades as his sunny optimism outshines Brian Cowen's surliness or Bertie Ahern's bombast.
It is this ability to sell Ireland that made Kenny the first Irish leader in half a century to appear on the front cover of 'Time' magazine and it is the same skill that saw him woo and win over audiences in Ohio this weekend during one of his whirlwind tours to sell Ireland to the US.
Watching the Taoiseach addressing 600 people from Cleveland's Mayo Society early yesterday morning, it was impossible not to admire the energy that the 61-year-old brought to the task, as well as a certain grace that can be one of Kenny's trademarks when he keeps his teacher's testiness in check. In that speech, and in several other speeches and private meetings with business leaders across the sprawling rust belt city, Kenny hammered home a simple message: Ireland had been bludgeoned but was still standing bloody and unbowed.