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. OurTimeIsNow!

    Please people think for yourselves. Do you really mean to tell me, that you seriously do not believe that for one minute there aren't people in this country that's bitter because of the Bush Administration? Please!

    Barack never for one minute thought that every single small town American in this country is bitter. However, they are some who have explained this frustration to him and these are the people whom is speaking of. There is credibility to this statement. You should not feel offended if you're not one of those individuals. The media is blowing this whole incident out of proportion because they have nothing else.

    On the other hand

    What about the health care story that Hillary was campaigning about which involved a young pregnant woman being withheld healthcare because she had no health insurace. We came to find out that that story wasn't true. However, I would bet that this young woman is bitter. Bitter because Hillary Clinton is doing the same that the Bush Administration has done to our country for the past eight years and that is lying to our faces and making false promises.

    Think About it! Obama 08!

    April 16, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. jaci in oregon

    "fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and this people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace.”

    HOW can the words JUSTICE, PROSPERITY (yeah, for the oil companies) and PEACE be used within mere feet of bush and no one spontaneously combust or be struck down or some such thing?!?!? bush is soo far removed from the concepts of JUSTICE and PEACE he'd have to go to the dictionary to be reminded of their definitions!! now if only he had a dictionary instead of My Pet Goat!!!!!!!!!

    April 16, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. BuffaloJ

    Why is it that reporters want to make themselves part of the story so much these days? You're reading way too much into this, trying to put a little glitz on a cliche? Bush's comment seems rather mindless, if not patronizing. Leave it at that.

    April 16, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Stacy Clarks, TX

    Robert Anthony:

    rev wright is not running for president

    April 16, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Don

    Say hi to the pope for me.

    April 16, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. The Corp

    Obama sucks, pure & simple...

    April 16, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. fvp

    the clinging is the problem. you can be religious without having to cling to religion. can we now stop talking about this ridiculous thing when there are much bigger problems that should be addressed and the media is totally ignoring them?

    April 16, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. From PA

    Please someone ask Barack (aka Barry) Obama..........why he released a polished version of his Taxes........not a copy of the originals

    April 16, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. TC - South Beach

    THE POPE AND THE DOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 16, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. jerral

    what the heck is this about, in the middle of talking to the pope. it looks like another blog got throwed in. totally off base for bush to comment on obama when the pope said nothing, how sick is that and hillary lovers get ready to praise president obama

    April 16, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. lin

    Obama is the one who gave these terrible descriptions of people he is completely out of touch with. It's not how much you make that makes someone an elitist, It's what you know and understand about who people are. I can go to Nepal and understand that the people who go to their temples to worship is not out of bitterness but because of their faith which helps them to better understand life, yet I'm alot richer than most people in that country. Where is Obama's judgement? I don't have alot of good things to say about Bush but on this matter he's way ahead of Obama.

    April 16, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Santosh Kumar

    I Love this country very much because it always stands for freedom and liberty for each and every one. Irrespective of our differed belief, creed and race. I love my president who comforts us in our down time with prayer and finding peace in our almighty than to scold us unnecessarily of being a bitter. I will never vote for that creep.

    April 16, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. pittguy

    from PA

    who cares

    April 16, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Eli of Stockbridge

    Maybe the President needed some spiritul couciling on how to return to everyday life like the rest of us. A big time prayer could be the difference between having or not having food , lights or gas as we know out here in the real world. Does he pump gas? He better learn how to keep up with the prices a little better.

    April 16, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Richard, FL

    While Bush was grandstanding for Republicans, where was his candidate John McCain and the minister McCain praised and requested the support of - John Hagee? Hagee has dissed Catholics and claims that the Catholic Church worked together with Adolph Hitler. Why are the McCain supporters so quiet about this while criticisizing Obama's minister? The answer is obvious.

    April 16, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Kyle

    One of the most ridiculously speculative things I've read in a long time. Perhaps he mentioned Americans being religious because he was standing three feet from the most powerful religious figure in the world.

    This really reads like CNN really wants to keep this "bitter" story alive. If that's not the case, the absurdity of this is laughable.

    April 16, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Eli of Stockbridge

    what bill said is not what he meant! He misspoke. Should of said old people are used to listening and trusting old folks. Reminds me of a grandma that refuses to give young folks music a chance. But than again, Hillary is in her 60s. Hope we have enough young folks to vote for a young candidate this time. His music could be better sounding.

    April 16, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. julie MN

    Obama,Rev,Wright, same thing! Thank you Pope Benedict for the blessing.

    April 16, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. James in Canada


    April 16, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. Zagazaw

    I wonder why the Dem and GOP is attacking Obama so hard, People even siding with Bush who only have a 23% rating, when it come to Obama.
    Do the GOP fear him that much? wow.

    April 16, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. db

    The real question to me is why Obama's words are being taken as a swipe against religion.

    In his comment, he was NOT putting people down for holding to their religion. He simple was not.

    He WAS saying that when people feel politically disenfranchised, they turn away from even trying to participate politically and focus on those things immediately in their control, including their religion.

    April 16, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Roots of Bitterness

    People ARE Bitter that their jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries! They can't pay bills or buy food, etc. And as Obama said, some turn to their guns (hunting, shooting ranges, etc.) to release their frustrations, or to their religion (faith) that things will work out according to God's will. WHAT was so bad about what he said? it is the TRUTH!
    good grief

    April 16, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Len in Washington

    Wolf, I generally appreciate your fairness and equity however I think that you're playing the "Bitter" card way more than is realistic. On this issue, I think you're pushing too hard for a scoop or headline. You mention it more than anyone else.

    Check the polls. It hasn't made any difference.

    Len in Washington

    April 16, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. gerry

    his “fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and this people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace.”

    Which was a not so veiled swipe at our war in Iraq, Wolf!

    April 16, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Darth Vadik, CA

    Pope, go pray for yourself,


    I don't need somebody who worked to hide relocate pedophile priests, and somebody who payed of victims TO STAY QUIET, praying for me.

    I'll pray for myself.

    April 16, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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