Obama Meets Pope, Seeks Blessings and Gets 'the Francis Bump’
By Gopi Chandra Kharel | March 28, 2014 12:24 AM EST
Thursday saw a rare occasion in which the two most powerful men on Earth held a historic meeting. One is the biggest superstar on the international stage, while the other is the growing face of popularity on the religious front.
US President Barack Obama (R) talks with Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican City March 27.
The website Politico sums it up as a history of sorts when the two men held a 50-minute meeting: "It was a rare chance for Obama to associate himself with a world leader whose cool factor far outweighs his own, and it comes at a critical time in his presidency. The White House is still recovering from what aides call a 'lost year', and the president's job approval ratings at home are dipping to new lows," it read.
Indeed, the way Obama appeared to be standing in front of the Pontiff with a never-before-seen smile, coupled with his widely cited quote "wonderful meeting you... it is a great honor. I am a great admirer" tends to prove that the world's most powerful politician sometimes would need a little dose of papal blessings.
And no sooner had the meeting came to an end, Politico quoted Chad Pecknold, a theology professor at the Catholic University of America, saying a line that will tell the story:
"HE NEEDS THE FRANCIS BUMP" .
— POLITICO (@politico) March 27, 2014
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis crack each other up as they exchange gifts after their meeting at the Vatican pic.twitter.com/gSct3Y13fO — Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) March 27, 2014
Pope Francis has not stopped smiling and laughing since meeting President Barack Obama. He's really enjoying the meeting.
— Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) March 27, 2014
Francis is said to have a 76 percent approval rating among Americans, according to a Gallup poll published on Wednesday. Whereas, Obama's approval rating is now 42 percent, an indication that hints a real need for Obama to resort to the papal luck!
Obama asked the Pontiff to pray for the first family, which has appeared to be very supportive of him throughout his political career. "They've been very strong. Pray for them. I would appreciate it," he said. The pope granted his wish - well, sort of!
Obama seemed to use the closely watched meeting with the Pontiff to show his allegiance with the Pope on matters, such as income inequality, poverty and immigration.
Even as Obama appears to take the greatest care, he may really not be able to escape the issue that has dogged his presidency: Obamacare.
The contraceptive mandate has strained his relationship with Catholic bishops back home. But Obama took care not to bring up the issue as it would distract from White House's aim to portray a common cause with the Pope - a much-needed push on his hope to advance on sensitive issues in his second term.
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