April 16th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
2 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. ostriches burying our heads in sand

    I think that is somewhat of a stretch.......but with the Republicans one never knows!

    But swipe or no swipe, Barack's going to outlive this because he was not condescending and spoke the truth and people are starting to see that.....

    April 16, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Sandra Lewis

    If the President was referring to Senator Barack comments you have taken his statement of of context. Barack's words shouldnot be controversial anyway That statement is true. Gov. has left peole out and clinging to God for Gov. stinks! The Gov isnot taking care of America, just like REV. Wright spoke. The POPE asked ALMIGHTY GOD to confirm this nation and his people in ways of JUSTICE ; AMERICA needs much prayer! FERVET PRAYERS!

    April 16, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    Wolf, you need to go pick up hurricane HRC from PA and go retire somewhere.

    April 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Scott

    How sad that another American president is embracing the anti-christ.

    April 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. The Truth Exposed

    Wolf, judging by the way you tried to connect Bush's statement to the one Obama made about rural Pennsylvanians, I've come to realize that you're a die-hard Hillary Clinton supporter, and your only goal was to bring up Obama's comments yet again in order to support your candidate.

    Like you said, you were a White House correspondent. But you didn't mention that you were the correspondent from 1992 until 1999 - practically through Bill Clinton's entire presidency.

    George Bush's comments about America had absolutely nothing to do with Barack Obama's comments about Pennsylvania. Wolf, if you're going to be so biased why don't you go work for Fox News?

    CNN, if you don't post this, it's because everything i said is true.

    April 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Stacy Clarks, TX

    okay, reading WAYYY to much into this

    it is not so off base that Bush will try to let the pope know that Americans are religous...its the pope!

    April 16, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Ray

    For Bayou Joe,

    So by your measure, I have to ask...

    What would God think of this president and this administration for abandoning the people of New Orleans?

    For Everyone Else,

    I am tired of having religion forced down my throat. As an agnostic, I believe that religion should be a private matter and not an issue of local, state or national policy. Along those lines, places of worship should not be places where religious figures use their power to sway the political process by endorsing or villifying candidates or policies. If that's the case, then take away organized religion's incredibly sweet tax-exempt status. THAT'S one way to fix our economy.

    April 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. David Brown

    Why hasn't the DNC subtracted the number of delegates from Florida and Michigan (366) from the total number of delegates of 4,048 (down one due to Gov Spitzer's departure)? I understand why they may have waited, but now that it is clear that do-over votes in Fl and MI are not going to happen, then their delegates should be subtracted from the total leaving the new total as 3,682 (4,048 – 366). If the total delegate number is lowered, than so will the delegates needed to secure the nomination, which will go from 2,024 (again down one because of Gov Spitzer) to 1841.

    The DNC should adjust the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination, if for no other reason, than to avoid giving superdelegates too much influence over the nomination process.

    April 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Robert Anthony

    It is hard for me to understand why Barack Obama states that both Hillary Clinton and John McCain are spouting the same old divisive talk, and he stands for change and wants to stop it, when Rev. Wright seems to have been using more divisive verbage than I have heard either anyone else speak and Mr. Obama has been subjective to that for the past 20 years. I wonder what he has told his children after church each Sunday. Don't you think he should have tried to stop it in his own church before he starts trying to stop it in the country???

    April 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. RealityKing

    Bush, and our brave volunteers in the military, are fighting to free our neighbors from tryanny and opression. Just like good Christians should...

    April 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. unions are not stupid

    Give me a break! Noah and Susan,MO get a life i see both of you posting negative comments about both democratic candidates so please stop spreading republican lies and move on you as bad as the village idiot and his lap dog the pope. I would like to know what makes him so special he is a man just like anyone else! This is not anything to do with Obama and all you guys that keep saying he was saying something bad about small town people. Lets get this straight and i will type in large case so the slow Clinton supporters can read it. HE WENT TO A CLOSE DOOR EVENT IN SF FULL OR PEOPLE BETTER OFF THAN MOST AND ASK THEM TO HELP SUPPORT HIM GO TO WASHINGTON AND HELP THE PEOPLE WHOM ARE STRUGGLING! HE SAID THAT THOSE PEOPLE HE HAS BEEN MEETING WITH ARE VERY UPSET PISSED OFF AND HELL YES BITTER! WE ARE GET OVER IT! IT WAS TRUE I KNOW YOU DON'T OFTEN SEE YOUR CANDIDATE SPEAK THE TRUTH, BUT DON'T CALL OUT OBAMA WHEN HE DOES SPEAK THE TRUTH. SEN CLINTON JACKED HER SELF. READ PEOPLE!

    "Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."

    WHO IS THE QUOTE FROM HILLARY TO THEN PRESIDENT BILL IN 1995.
    Go Obama 08

    April 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Kenneth M

    HILLARY: "Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."

    April 16, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. mary-NH

    Why on earth would you tie anything Bush said to Obama? One thing Bush is not is subtle. And before everyone bows their head in respect of this particular pope please keep in mind he was an advisor to his predecessor and no matter how 'ashamed' he said he felt today about the priest/pedophile disaster, when he was an advisor, he advised the pope to wait till the statute of limitations ran out before doing anything. Obviously a monetary decision. Yeah, there were quite a few 'gods' on the lawn of the White House today.

    April 16, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. wycliffe

    wolf....President Bush is History, start talking about his legacy.
    what I know as an American citizen, we were let down by his administration.

    April 16, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Len

    God Bless America

    McCain 08

    April 16, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Lilia from MD

    Pls. stop. Is this all your professional journalistic skills? By repeating and repeating you guys are starting to sound like Hillary's broken record, or schratch DVD.

    When Bush decided to go to war. I didn't hear any responsible journalism, from you. there were not enugh questions asked, there weren't any inteligent reports on this matter. It was just this big rush to war.

    Now you are trying to crusify this men for his statment. GET OUT OF HERE!!!!!

    April 16, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. xtina

    Everything doesn't have to be seen through the eyes of Obama. Im tired of him. In fact Im tired of this campaign. We know Obama will raise taxes big time and I figure both Hillary and McCain will raise taxes. So it's down to who will protect our country from enemies and invaders, and who will run the justice sys. best (since those are the two main roles of Pres.)

    April 16, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Shane

    The Catholic church shouldn't be as powerful as they are. It's just nonsense. The Pope sent out notice to all priest to try to cover up any sexual allegations. I don't really like this Pope or this President. They are so demeaning to gay & lesbian individuals. I think they also use the word of God in vain. It's truly disgusting. I never hear this Pope speaking out against issues in Africa. Also these ancient scrolls that were said to be the writings of jesus himself was found was covered by the Vatican. I think those are the true gangsters in the world.

    April 16, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. mike

    Hey Wolf-Give It Up Already!

    April 16, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. Paul

    Dear Holay Father

    Thanks for your blessings

    Faith and Reason
    &
    Faith and works will guide our nation towards success

    HILLARY- PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    WE BELIEVE BECAUSE WE ARE JOYFUL IN GOD, NOT BECAUSE WE ARE FRUSTRATED!

    HILLARY 08

    April 16, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. sacto joe

    The Pope's visit will be politicized – count on it. And CNN will continue to push Obama's "bitter" comment – count on that as well.

    After all, this is a VERY conservative fellow, the Pope. Just like Wolf Blitzer....

    April 16, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Delaware

    Hillary Clinton is exaggerating her experience and her trip to Bosnia by putting more than there was to the story. At 60 there is no way you can lose your memory unless your brain is dead. These are all lies; there was no snipers fire.
    Anyway what is the trade deal with Columbia is all about. You cannot go and have trade deal with country that does fallow US policies. What is the next trade deal for Clinton? May be Iran, Cuba, Libya, Syria, Sudan, or communist Korea.

    April 16, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Delaware

    Stop all the division about race and let us elected a good democratic president in the white house. Obama has no explanation to make to no body or no race group because he did not mention any race that was bitter with guns and religion. The comment was about Americans that live in rural PA and I far that I am concern there are all different races of people living in those region.
    People come on! This is almost the end of the 21st century and you have not over this nonsense yet. America if you did not know is a country that is compose of many races of people and I do not think there is a single one of us that is more American than others.

    April 16, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. honkey white guy from cali

    I found this from 1995 a direct quote from then first lady Clinton to then president Bill Clinton! she referred to them as

    "lunch bucket democrats"

    "Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."

    in the words of her husband " give me a break"!

    LIES LIES LIES I put that in caps so the Clinton bots can read it it seems they can only type in all caps.

    Go Obama 08 Yes We Can

    April 16, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Sherri

    I hope the Holy Father told Bush that torture is not a human value. I hope he told him that not telling the truth and leading our country into war is a sin.

    I am from a very small town. Every word Obama said was true. People are bitter. Jobs are going away. My own is in jeopardy, with 30 layoffs announced last week. People do turn to religion and tradition to make their way through the mess that Bush has brought us. I hear ugly conversations about immigration. Our kids are at war and Hillary lies about being under fire in Bosnia. That is an insult.

    Obama has my vote and the votes of my small town family.

    April 16, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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