President Obama said Pope Francis doesn’t need his advice about “staying humble.”
Obama is traveling to Rome in March to meet with the new pontiff. In a sit-down interview, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked if daughters Sasha and Malia would be coming along.
“You know, they met the previous pope the last time we went to Rome. I’m not sure they’re going to have a chance to go this time. But it was wonderful, great story was. You know, Sasha was still pretty young at the time. This is in my first year of office,” Obama said. “And they see the Sistine Chapel and going through these various chambers. Each time she’d see somebody dressed up in the cloth, she’d say, is that the pope? Is that the pope? How about that guy over there? They said, no, no, you’ll know when it is finally the pope.”
Tapper asked if Obama planned to talk to the wildly popular pope “about the importance of managing expectations at all.”
“Well, you know, I have been really impressed so far with the way he’s communicated what I think is the essence of the Christian faith and that is a true sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and regard for those who are less fortunate,” Obama responded. “And my suspicion is based on what I’ve seen of him so far, he’s a pretty steady guy. I don’t think he needs any advice from me about staying humble.”
A December poll had Pope Francis at an 88 percent approval rating with American Catholics and 69 percent with all Americans.
Obama’s approval rating is at 42 percent in the Gallup daily tracking poll, with 49 percent disapproval.
Obama said he doesn’t think Pope Francis is looking at his own approval rating.
“I think he is very much reflecting on his faith and what he needs to do to make sure that folks, not just of the Catholic faith, but people all around the world are living out a message that he thinks is consistent with the lessons of Jesus Christ,” the president said. “So, I’ve really been impressed. That’s a meeting I’m looking forward to.”
Pope Francis is on the cover of the Rolling Stone issue that hit newsstands today. “Unfortunately, the article disqualifies itself, falling into the usual mistake of a superficial journalism, which in order to highlight the positive aspects of Pope Francis, thinks it should describe in a negative way the pontificate of Pope Benedict, and does so with a surprising crudeness,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.