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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

March 27, 2014 - 6:18 am

President Obama met Pope Francis this morning at the Vatican in a meeting that lasted a little under an hour and featured Obama giving the pontiff a box of seeds.

Obama brought along Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, press secretary Jay Carney and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

The pope greeted Obama outside the Papal Library with a friendly handshake. Obama “nodded his head slightly,” according to the White House pool report. “Wonderful meeting you,” the president said. “Thank you sir, thank you.”

“It is a great honor. I’m a great admirer. Thank you so much for receiving me,” Obama continued. “I bring greetings from my family. The last time I came here to meet your predecessor I was able to bring my wife and children.”

Michelle Obama departed China yesterday after a weeklong trip with her daughters and mother.

The pool reporters could not hear the pope’s responses to Obama as they sat across a desk from each other, each with an interpreter. Pope Francis’s native language is Spanish but he also speaks Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian, Piedmontese and Latin, according to the Vatican.

In the exchange of gifts following the meeting, Obama presented the pope with the seeds. According to a White House official, it was “a custom-made seed chest featuring a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden” using “reclaimed wood from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” The official noted the pope’s earlier announcement that he would open the gardens at Castel Gandolfo, the historic papal summer residence, to the public as a reason for the gift.

“These, I think, are carrots,” Obama said, holding up a pouch from the box. “Each one has a different seed in it. The box is made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States in Baltimore.”

“If you have a chance to come to the White House, we can show you our garden as well,” he added. The pope quipped, “Why not?” Congressional leaders recently extended a formal invitation for the pope to address a joint session on the Hill.

The pope gave Obama a copy of his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel.”

“I actually will probably read this in the Oval Office when I’m deeply frustrated,” Obama said. “I’m sure it will give me strength and calm me down.” Pope Francis chuckled and said, “I hope.”

“My family has to be with me on this journey. They’ve been very strong. Pray for them. I would appreciate it,” the president requested of the pope as they said goodbye.

A reporter in the White House pool later was able to ask Rice how the papal visit went. “Great, really cool,” the ambassador said.

 

 

 

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Probably Choom seeds...

I'm reminded by the Pope's expression in image of one verse...But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me.

22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is not a bad gift, really. Seeds have a great deal of symbolism in Christianity. And the container indicated some real thought had been put into the gift.

Someone in the protocol division must have been goofing Obama into believing the gift was all about him. Certainly he never could have thought about the symbolism or significance of the items on his own. He probably just thought "we'll give him cheap stuff from the garden, packaged in scrap wood."
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Pope, in the image in question, is thinking, "Get me the hell out of here."
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (25)
All Comments   (25)
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Immediately following the meeting, the pope tweeted "Exorcism failed #PRAY."
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bridget:

The last sentence of the article still lists Rice as "the ambassador".
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mustard seeds would have been more approprate.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bridgett:

Susan Rice is no longer the UN Ambassador. She has a much bigger job within BO's administration now. You ought to correct that fact within your story.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Finally a pretty cool and classy gift. At least he didn't give him a DVD collection that wouldn't play on European DVD players (to a visually handicapped PM of England) or an iPod with his speeches on them (to the Queen of England)... Glad he has learned something...
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, why not?

Coming from this seedy character, it's apropos.

22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
These are carrots, those are tares, pray for those zinnias and remember to keep the precious case where you can always see it and it will carry your words right to the ear of the almighty!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why not a case of the best steaks money can buy, you cheap bastard ? Oh, forgot about Moochelle.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I pray that Obama really does read the encyclical. He needs it.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama “nodded his head slightly,” yet he bows to the Saudi king, the Queen, Calderon, the Japanese Emperor, even the mayor of Tampa but can't seem to bring himself to more than nod to the Vicar of Christ.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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