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. gobo

    To SUE (Michigan),

    Amen to what you said.

    April 16, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. Solomon Freeman

    People who try to pick stuff arounf this and try to make it look like obama is a mess and the ones that are living in the dark.

    I advice they wake up and put self embodined mis judgement aside and reason and talk for he interest of America.

    Say me hi to the pope, His prayers will help us get a candidate soon.

    April 16, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. Joseph, Los Angeles California

    Wolfie, Why did you go there? This is about the Pope's visit, not Barack! Bush said what he said because he doesn't know where to go anymore or what to say. He knows better than anyone that he has totally lost the respect of the American people. All you did was unleash all the Obama haters on your blog... I've never seen so many angry, bitter people in my life.

    Anyway, what I would like to know is why the Pople refused the White House's invitation to a grand dinner in his honor?

    April 16, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Ed, Fl

    Obama 08!!! that is pure & simple

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

    Everything comes back as an attack on Obama. CNN – where is your objectivity?

    Why not focus on Hillary's lies and her praise of McCain despite the fact that Obama will likely be the Democratic nominee. This just shows how individualistic she is by her willingness to degrade another democrat as she faces a loss.

    April 16, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. Toby

    So Pope Benedict XVI meets President George W. Bush.

    Ahh, a meeting of the minds. One one side, a power-hungry fascist thug tottering on the brink of irrelevance. On the other side, President George W. Bush.

    April 16, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  7. Darth Vadik, CA

    Do you people realize you have nothing on Obama,

    oh he's a muslim – IRRELEVANT

    wait wait his reverend – IRRELEVANT ( I guess he converts from christian to muslim from day to day)

    oh he was at a black panthers house (once when he was 8) – JUST FUNNY

    no wait, rezco – IF OBAMA DID SOMETHING ILLEGEL, CHARGE HIM, I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT.

    no no its the "bitter gate" – I'M BITTER AND WONT TAKE IT ANY MORE

    of now something about the taxes – IF HE DID SOMETHING ILLEGAL IRS GO AFTER HIM, BUT I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT

    all of this is watchadoboutnothing, none of it.

    He's leading in delegates, he's leading in votes, he's leading in the polls, still standing, still GOING TO WIN.

    April 16, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. Creative Woody

    Wow, the desperation from the Hillary camp is palpable. Still trying to use the "Obama's pastor's nephew's best-friend's girlfriend is racist" tactic. It hasn't worked for 3 weeks, why would it work now?

    April 16, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. Darth Vadik, CA

    oh he was at a black panthers house (once when he was EIGHT) – JUST FUNNY

    it was supposed to be 8 not a smiley face

    April 16, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. OurTimeIsNow!

    Hi From PA,

    Ask Hillary why she'd took so long to release her taxes. I'm pretty sure her taxes weren't an exact copy of the originals. I'm pretty sure she had to make sure to take out all of the misspeakings in the document.

    Obama 08"

    April 16, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. Peter

    Obama supporters excuse and forgive him for anything He say or do
    on race, religion,

    Wake up American

    Hillary 08

    April 16, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Santosh Kumar

    Stacy Clarks

    what a fool you are. You are indeed living in fools paradise.

    Grow up, before its too late.

    April 16, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. Cal Jim 2

    Well, it's nice to hear the Pope bless us. We really need a good blessing. I am thankful, to the Pope. I can't help but to wounder how, this Popes blessing of the United States of America, and the people of America, sits with Rev. Wright and his sheep, especially Mr.Obama. Not well, I would presume. The timing is a little late, but still pretty good. A stark contrast to the Obamas, Rev.Wright message. I hope the Obamanation of America, gets the message, and understand it. Somehow, I think not. This Nations only, 'real hope' against the Obamanation of America, is to activate more, 'wiser voters', to go to the polls and vote against, the Obamanation. And of course, the Popes prayers, for us. Remember, with prayer, the lord helps those, that help themselves, and saves those, that can not. Vote!

    April 16, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. tim

    be quiet, Wolf Blitzer..... its totally obvious that you are a staunch Clinton supporters, based on your last debate you ran.

    Fair and balanced?

    April 16, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. Rob in Sacramento

    The Vaticans policies in birth control in the wolrds poorest nations, demonstrate that Mr Bush & Mr Ratzinger have the same narrow, self-serving adgenda; trading human life for power & profit while masking themselfves in religion. people of real faith, whatever the denomination should condem these two & their actions. There words are hallow & unimportant.

    April 16, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. pudel

    More like an upper cut than a veiled swipe. Power to the President and the Pope who said my favorite words. "God Bless America"

    This former Catholic understands the power of the Catholic Church in America. The basic tenents of respect and value of human life is at the core of the Church.

    This will have a tremendous affect on the race for the Presidency. Even the Pope and God bless him, made it very clear that The United States will come to any country that wants Freedom for it's people and will make every sacrifice to maintain Freedom in the World.

    Whether it is national disaster caused 'by humans or by nature' OR GENOCIDAL CHASE FOR OIL, we area always sending our soldiers, medical people and ordinary citizens with food and shelter to make life better for everyone regardless of race or religion.

    That is why we love our country and will support it's leaders as long as they maintain the vision of America that our forefathers laid out for us.

    April 16, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Ed

    Do you really think G.W. is intellectually capable of taking a "veiled swipe" ??? Perhaps his speechwriters are, but poor W can barely read those tricky sentences with all those big words, much less deliver a subtle or veiled swipe at Obama.

    If it were not for the carnage and destruction GW and his boss, Cheney, have brought upon the country and the world, it might be amusing to see the worst President in memory, if not history, bumble through his last meaningless days. It is bitterly amusing to see him make his pathetic demands when no one even listens or cares, e.g., CAFTA!

    Please let us get to Jan 2009 and be rid of this dreadful buffoon. Even old man McCain would be better, and that's a sad comment!

    April 16, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. Ana

    It's funny how all of my posts in support of Sen. Clinton get deleted....

    Hmmm.... Biased much?

    April 16, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. Lizz

    Woolf,
    As a member of the "best political team" , you are very biased in your comments about politics. It is quite obvious to me how creative you are in your attempts to point out your negative opinion of Barack Obama. Your astuteness and discernment seemed to be targeted at your perceived opinion of Obama. Any objectivity is thinly veiled, and your subjectivity toward Hillary is clearly seen.

    April 16, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Sandra Satterfield

    Gosh, Wolf, you really do need to get a life. How can you turn the Pope's visit into a slap at Obama by Bush and a backhanded plug for Clinton? You really crossed the line here.

    April 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. Nobama

    I agree with Wolf, and that was not that coincidental.

    I believe that Obama's statement in SF revealed his real thoughts. It would be a huge mistake to make him the nominee. But even if he is, he will still lose in Nov, so the end result won't be different. Obama just had too many lies – his ties to the 38 lobbists in Washington, his tie to Irqi "business man" at Okezo's party... More will come out.

    The only sad thing is America could have a great president whose name is Hillary Clinton.

    April 16, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. jimmy vekmen

    AT LAST A RELIGIOUS LEADER OF 70 MILLION CATHOLICS IN AMERICA ALONE WHO PRAYS FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND ITS PEOPLE.

    OBAMA TAKE NOTE.

    April 16, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. Chuck in Oregon

    This is for from PA, I can promise you if this was a polished version of his taxes, CNN would have been all over it. Give it a break will ya, gezzz... too many people trying to exact their own spin into this race.

    Everyone needs to listen to the candidates with open minds and make their decision on those words and stop listening to all those pundits and supporters. Too many people talking about what is said by others and adding their own interpretations. Try asking the speaker if you feel they may be speaking falsely for a change instead of jumping all over someones words and turning them into something ugly or different from what was intended in the original words. Not everyone is "litteral" in their words and those of you that are litteral in your hearing need to relax. There is an old saying.." it is better to ask the question and appear stupid then to remain silent and remove all doubt" by putting your own personal spin to it.

    April 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. levi

    I am glad the Pope is here to bring some blessings in America Obama and his followers together with pastor Wright with their anti-American sentiments put a lot of curse in this country, God bless America.

    April 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. 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 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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