April 16th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: Bush, the pope - and politics?

Pope Benedict XVI and President Bush greet thousands of guests on the South Lawn Wednesday.

Pope Benedict XVI and President Bush greet thousands of guests on the South Lawn Wednesday.

(CNN) - It was a beautiful arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. As a former White House correspondent, I covered many such ceremonies over the years. But no matter how many times you see and hear these events, it’s always exciting and spectacular. This one for Pope Benedict XVI, I must say, was even more extraordinary because so many thousands of guests were on hand, and they were genuinely moved.

President Bush delivered a carefully-written address touching several sensitive issues. But I was especially struck by these words: “The United States is the most innovative, creative and dynamic country on earth. It is also among the most religious.”

I may be reading way too much into those words, but I was struck by the contrast to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s controversial words about those people in small towns in Pennsylvania who’ve lost their jobs. “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter,” Obama said, “They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Was President Bush deliberating taking a veiled swipe at Obama? As I said, I don’t know, but it was curious – at least to me.

What I do know is that the Pope’s words very uplifting, especially when he blessed the United States with his “fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and this people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace.”

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Nobillary Andobama

    What he was saying is that American's personal relationship with God is important to them....unless of course you are Barack Obama and the atheist elitist left wingers he was pandering in San Francisco.

    "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigration sentiment...."

    In this elitist rant and his prior dealings with Reverend Wright we see some insight into how this guy will think if he is elected President.

    pro-gun control
    anti-Semitic and or atheist policies
    pro-illegal immigration
    advocate of protectionist trade policies


    "HOPE" is not a method....only a nice sound bite

    April 16, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Chuck in Oregon


    I did not have the same thoughts as I listened. In fact politics never entered my mind during the whole process, it was a welcome break.
    Maybe it was the way your mind and thoughts were working.

    April 16, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Chris In California

    GW Bush spoke to the Pope in a speech and said that we need to value human life. I thought it interesting that a man who I think places such little value on human life could actually believe that he had any credibility at all in saying these things.

    April 16, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Denis

    Well this Cathoilic (independent) vote is not up for grabs!!

    My vote goes to Hillary if she is nominated and if she is not, then it will go to McCain.

    I cannot vote for Obama, not because it is a racial issue with me because if Colin Powell was involved, I would vote for him over all of the candidates that were in this years Primaries, regardless of Party.

    Obama just seems to go on and on talking and promising everything to a point where it is difficult to listen to his speeches. And I have heard almost all the speeches that have been available on CNN.

    In my mind, Obama simply has not explained himself satisfactorily on key issues regarding his support for "Wright" and his relationship with "Reszko". The latest issue is his comments about common Americans in how they rely on Guns and religion because they supposedly are bitter.

    I am amazed about the support he is receiving from politicians and how they seem to think that the issues listed above are not important. Well they are to most common standing Americans

    April 16, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    I am Catholic and I love the Pope. But does Bush deserve to
    be on the same "pulpit" with the Pope. Seems sacraligious to me.

    April 16, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. John, Pittsbugrh

    Oh come on Wolf, How stupid!!!

    April 16, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. stuart_zechman




    April 16, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. arun

    The man who invades another country should not be talking about religion period.

    April 16, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Casual observer

    Wolf, you're reading into that statement way too much, it seems to have nothing to do with Obama. But at least it's good fodder for the CNN ticker joneses to post negative comments about Bush.

    April 16, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Andy, HI

    I'm planning a Barack Bar-b-que. We'll watch the returns while chomping on some babyback ribs.

    Fire up the Q, we're ready for a winner.

    April 16, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. 2012

    Wolf, he was welcoming the pope, of course he'd say something like that! Leave it to you to imply it was a shot at Obama....lol! I used to think "rabble rousing for dollars" was the exclusive realm of people like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage, but you've succeeded in grand fashion to drag CNN down into the pit of non-objectivity.
    Oh, well, continue to enjoy the perverse satisfaction you get from stirring your witches brew of divisiveness and antagonism. I'll try to find a news source that's still more interested in reporting facts than creating controversy. By the way, when does Jerry Springer join your team?

    April 16, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Alex H

    Susan MO – Having fun today?

    April 16, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Obamacrat

    Will CNN ever give this a rest? I am clarvoyant because I see a future in which CNN will be covering specious attacks on Democrats and how will the Democrat recover from now until dooms day. Since Jimmy Carter that has been the playbook. Meanwhile Nero fiddles.

    April 16, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Pam

    Wow, you really must have been looking for something to come up with that!

    April 16, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Michael, Canada

    I've said it before Wolf, you are SO biased against the next President of the United States Barack Obama. You are so desperate to tie anything negative to the next President of the United States, you see things that are not there.

    Are you really so desperate Wolf?

    April 16, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. A REAL American

    You're right Bayou Joe.... it's a shame, though, that there are so many people right here in America who believe that the US is to blame for just about everything. Our nation comes to free oppressed people all the time from dictators, but all you hear from the left-wing loonies is how we are turning their people into terrorists (or "freedom fighters", as referred to by Cindy Sheehan). And everytime we send aid to disaster-stricken areas, like we did after the tsunami, I remember America got blasted for waiting too long. They still took the money, right?

    Regarding this article, I personally don't think Bush was taking a swipe– he is telling the truth. This nation has been, is now, and always will be among the most religious in the world. That is a fact, and a strength for us, not a crutch as Obama believes.

    April 16, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. andrew of california

    So, are we into Revelations now, why is Bennie here?

    The neatest elitist, go bama '08

    April 16, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Casual observer

    Peter from Philly, fact check, Bush's approval rating is 30%, the Democratic led Congress, which includes (in abstenia) Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has an approval rating of 22%. Let's just agree that noone is doing their job in Washington at the moment.

    April 16, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. Washington

    From a more religious point of view, Obama's command desrves appreciation. This is a man who knows the important of religion in people's lives.

    April 16, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Doug R.

    Does this Mr. Bush think he is redeeming himself because he has met with the Pope?? Bush promised us all he would restore honesty and integrity to the White House. That White House belongs to the American people in case Mr. Bush has forgotten. I wonder if the Pope is aware of how our President has lied to, misled, and deceived the American people since he took office. I wonder if the Pope knows Bush's approval rating.

    April 16, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Kenneth

    Bush does not deserve to take a jab at anyone. If he did take a jab, it is just because he is trying to make himself feel better for doing such a lousy job. While he is on the safe south lawn, how many troops in Iraq will get shot today?

    And, what Obama said is true anyway. Y'all just can't handle the truth. I just wish Obama said that we have bitter folks all over this country right now because of the Bush policies.

    April 16, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. NickNas

    How funny. The Hillabots even as their Candidate gets Torpedoed AGAIN by her own husband LOL they sit in this thread spouting futile attacks that have no effect on Obama.

    Go check out the Cafferty Files kiddos

    April 16, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Deb in Texas

    I hope the POPE can touch him in a mighty way to make him understand that we need to get out of Iraq and stop killing people. The POPE needs to lay some holy hands on Bush.

    April 16, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. DD, New York

    Wolf, your a doltz on this one! The Pope had remarked on his flight to the US that he thought highly of America for its religious diversity cohabitating quite well together, and that the US is a perfect examle of separation of Church and State. It was also remarked in various news articles that compared to Europe, America is a deeply religious-practicing country. What Bush said that you quoted above is just a reiteration of what the Pope said and the comparison of "religiousness" of Europe and America. You are indeed reading way way too much into Bush's remarks. And I do believe you (and the rest of the media, and a ton of my other fellow countrymen and countrywomen) suffer from Obama of the brain.

    April 16, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Bush should be asking the Pope for a special blessing for himself because I personally don't see him standing in anyones graces.

    April 16, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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