At one level, no one argues more persuasively for the retention of Enda Kenny as leader, with repeated reference to his success at "dramatically" broadening the party base. At another, there is no false modesty about his own role in this. "If you look back to where we were in 2002, we had to rebuild our economic credibility and that we have done - and I suppose I've been central to that". But where another pretender might stop right there, he carries on, with scrupulous fairness, to play up Enda's role: "There has been an element of strategy, a corporate approach that has been pursued . . . In ways that you don't see, he is a very good motivator".
THE DIFFICULTY IS those pesky polls . . . and even those devout Fine Gaelers who sense that Enda Kenny lacks the charisma/gravitas/ muscular image to heave that ball over the line. He wonders at people's notion of a "leader". "Everyone said of Brian Cowen 'isn't he the ideal Taoiseach, 'the man', 'the decision-maker who appeared to have an air of strength about him'. Well, they got it . . ." he says, with a cheerful shrug. "Enda is clearly in the chairman-not-the-chief style . . . He's a corporate-style leader; he involves everyone."
But if the floating voter remains unconvinced by him, what's the point? "I'm not saying that Enda is perfect in all his presentation of it . . . We have to work on the strength and perception of him. There is room for improvement . . . I think that people who see him on the small box for 30 seconds don't see the full picture of Enda Kenny. He has to get through an election campaign in a system that is increasingly presidential and you don't have to tell him that . . . And if you look at the big picture, what is the role of a leader?".