(CNN) – His presence, could be felt the moment he arrived, as cheers erupted across the nation’s capital when the tiny fiat carrying Pope Francis pulled up to the White House.
Before a sea of the faithful assembled on the south lawn, the Pope joined president Obama to deliver a message that seemed so coordinated it could have come from political running mates.
On immigration President Obama called for compassion, “And that means welcoming the stranger with empathy and a truly open heart, from the refugee who flees war-torn lands to the immigrant who leaves home in search of a better life.”
So did the Pope, speaking in carefully practiced English, so Americans could hear from him, “As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.”
Pope Francis pleaded with the world’s leaders to protect the environment, describing the planet as “our common home.”
“It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” Pope Francis said.
It was as if they were reading the same speech, “We support your call to all world leaders to support the communities most vulnerable to changing climate, and to come together to preserve our precious world for future generations,” continued President Obama.
The only hint of any disagreement came when the Pope talked about marriage, a reminder the two leaders remain divided on gay rights.
Behind closed doors in the oval office, the president and Pope held a rare one-on-one meeting, discussing other pressing global matters, from the Syrian refugee crisis to the battle against ISIS.
Minutes later the pontiff was paraded down Constitution Avenue, his Fiat switched out for the Pope-mobile ,all the better for kissing babies along the way.
Then he was off to an address to U.S. bishops, where he repeated his comments on immigration.
So far the Pope’s visit is everything the White House could have hoped for. No surprise in this White House video even the president sounds like a fan.
Despite what sounded like a unified message from the White House and the Vatican, aides to the president said they had no idea what Pope Francis was going to say.
It’s unclear how much help the Pope’s support will be for the president’s agenda. House speaker John Boehner, who’s hosting the Pope’s speech to congress released a statement slamming the president’s policy in Syria.
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