April 16th, 2008
02:24 PM ET
6 years ago

Behind the Scenes: Watch for political fallout from pope's visit

NEW YORK (CNN) - The official motto of Pope Benedict XVI's April 15-20 visit to the United States, the first of his papacy, is "Christ our Hope." Based on the frequency with which papal spokespersons have struck a different note, however, its unofficial motto might well be, "This is not a political event."

Here's a typical example from early April: "The pope is not coming to get mixed up in the local political process," said Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the pope's ambassador to America, in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter. "His presence is about something more universal and, at the same time, more personal."

Fear that Benedict's visit might be read through the lens of party politics reflects a key fact of electoral life in America: The "Catholic vote" matters. To take the most obvious example, if a few heavily Catholic counties in Ohio had gone the other way in 2004, pundits would today be handicapping the re-election of President John Kerry.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Veterans for Obama

    He does bring a message of "HOPE".

    April 16, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Grif

    Excuse me. I do believe you're POPE Is/was German....

    April 16, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. AZM

    The "Catholic vote" matters. To take the most obvious example, if a few heavily Catholic counties in Ohio had gone the other way in 2004, pundits would today be handicapping the re-election of President John Kerry

    That might make sense if he had visited during the previous election...

    April 16, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. MD

    The Pope should not have come as long as Bush is in the White House.

    Validating a warmonger with a state visit is not good politics for the Pope.

    April 16, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. JW

    Polls released yesterday (Quinnipiac) and today (Daily News/Franklin & Marshall) show Clinton up 5 to 6 points here in Allegheny County but up 38 points (both polls) in southwestern counties surrounding Allegheny.

    April 16, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. bob

    Why? Is the Pope "bitter" too?

    April 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Bubba

    I'm waiting for the first lie Hillary will tell about the Pope. Bet it will be good !

    April 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  8. Juan, MA

    So this is just a sales/marketing trip for the Pope and the Vatican. I'm not buying what they're selling.

    April 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    I am a Catholic for Obama. Don't want another liar.

    April 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. Grif

    You couldn't know this, "RickyGriff". Because you have to live a bit longer...... Moreover, not Insult on Age alone.... Everybody gets Old. However, we don't all cheat the Young Folk.

    April 16, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |

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