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. DL

    “The United States is the most innovative, creative and dynamic country on earth. It is also among the most religious.”

    I can't believe you managed to spin the quote above into yet ANOTHER rehash of Senator Obama's comments. It's been clear where your sympathies lie for some time, Wolf. Good grief...give it a rest.

    April 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. Heather

    Quoting Bayou Joe:
    "Whether it is national disaster caused by humans or by nature 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."

    Except tfor our own people. Portions of LA and MS are STILL devastated by Katrina. My husband has been there twice now on mission trips, there is much left to be done, and Bush's government has forgotten the citizens of those regions. Volunteers are doing a great job, but they can't do it alone.

    Considering your nickname, you should know better.

    April 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. Stephen Murphy-Logue

    Whether or not Bush intentionally attempted to take a jab at Obama is debatable. However Obama's comments can't be taken lightly because they display a degree of arrogance that underlines his presidential bid. The man is undeniably brilliant, but the fact that he is running for president with so little political experience shows how arrogant he is. A few more years in the Senate would have buffered his presidential credentials and exposed him to further aspects of Washington political culture that are essential for success. These aspects I speak of don't entail corruption, think tanks, lobbyists, and individualism, but rather, a realization that federal politics require extensive experience and an understanding of the numerous obstacles that politicians encounter throughout Washington's ingrained systems. I support the Democratic Party and I believe that Barack Obama possesses the capabilities to be one of our nation's outstanding leaders, but now isn't his time.

    April 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. James

    WOlf,.... if we want to know if people are bitter or not,..... i think we should better ask those unemployed and those who are about to loose their house or have lost it already.......

    April 16, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. Nobama

    Obama just release his tax return for 2007, how much he reported? – no surprise, $4.2 million.

    The quesiton is where the several million dollars came from? from the Iraqi business man at his landlord friend's party? or from his 21 years' landlord friend on trial?

    April 16, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Claire, MI

    Nice guy, wrong timing–Americans are preoccupied with politics.

    Now back to the real world-where is the Clinton Library Donor List? Maybe the Pope can get it from them; they may not lie to the pontiff–NOT.

    Happy Birthday to the Pontiff.

    April 16, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    This has nothing to do with Barack you bunch of racist folks. Didn't the Pope say we should love one another or was he saying just love your own color and hate those who don't look like us?

    April 16, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Steve

    Hey Mr. Bush, do me a huge favor. Ask the pope where I can get a cool hat like the one he wears.

    For those of you accusing Wolf and other CNN editors about too much focus on Obama, I have a seemingly obvious suggestion. Stop reading this website. There are litererally dozens of news outlets on the web. There must be one that continually talks about what a fine woman Clinton is. I believe that one website is called "Cinton O8".
    Oddly, there aren't any others.....

    April 16, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. Stephen Murphy-Logue

    Whether or not Bush intentionally attempted to take a jab at Obama is debatable. However Obama's comments can't be taken lightly because they display a degree of arrogance that underlines his presidential bid. The man is undeniably brilliant, but the fact that he is running for president with so little political experience shows how arrogant he is. A few more years in the Senate would have buffered his presidential credentials and exposed him to further aspects of Washington's political culture that are essential for success. These aspects I speak of don't entail corruption, think tanks, lobbyists, and individualism, but rather, a realization that federal politics require extensive experience and an understanding of the numerous obstacles that politicians encounter throughout Washington's ingrained systems. I support the Democratic Party and I believe that Barack Obama possesses the capabilities to be one of our nation's outstanding leaders, but now isn't his time.

    April 16, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. Millston, CA

    Dear Pope,

    If you shake Bush's hands, don't forget to wash yours.

    Take our country back!
    America 08

    April 16, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. Tears of Shame

    Not interested unless he is ready to make amends for the sins of the fathers–priests.

    He should pray for all the lost innocence that the Catholic Church is responsible for.

    Sad.

    April 16, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. mike

    While no one questions the Pope"s spirituality, we must all question his effectiveness as an administrator. The Catholic sex abuse cases in Los Angeles were largely the result of Cardinal Roger Mahony's multi-year efforts to protect and enable pedophiles, obstruct justice, and protect his undeserved reputation as a "man of God". Pope Benedict's failure to strip Mahony of his position can only be viewed as an administrative failure and further proof that the Catholic Church continues to view parishoners as expendable.

    April 16, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. America For Hillary!!!!

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

    Just wait there are lots more TRUE dirt on Obama!!!

    April 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. Patrick

    Since when have humans created PEACE in the name of GOD?

    April 16, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. Renee

    Wolf: Yes. you are reading way to much into this. Its actually quite pathetic of you.

    April 16, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. No Pope

    Hey Pope just stay in Vatikan and don't come back.... don't think we are not aware of your past as "Hitler-Youth" activist.

    April 16, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Can't Pause For the Pope

    Dear Pope,

    Thanks for coming over, have a safe trip back.

    Sign–Americans caught up in a political fight for the best candidate, Barack Obama.

    Obama 08

    April 16, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. David Holder

    Please REMEMBER, Rome NEVER changes! The atrocities she performed in the past are the very SAME ones she will perform in the future. She is a persecuting power, and the power that wants to rule the world. It will be a sad day when the world recognizes this; however, it will be a day too late.

    April 16, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  19. Kevin in DC

    Um, no, Wolf…

    Are you a reporter, a journalist? Do you do ANY research, or do you just do these broad sweeping speculations that are absolutely foundationless?

    Obama DID NOT SAY that the country is without religion, NOR did he say it is BECAUSE of hard times that people turn to religion.

    What Obama said was, that because people don't trust politicians to work for them anymore (or media personalities like yourself, for that matter) on important issues like the economy, they instead vote on issues like religious persuasion and gun ownership rights…issues that do NOTHING to promise them new jobs or put food on the table, put kids through school, ensure medical coverage, etc.

    Get a clue, Wolf. You're not helping to raise the intellectual bar of the U.S…you're running head-on into it.

    April 16, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  20. Jennifer

    For the life of me I can not understand why some people would vote for the biggest Liar we've had in a very long time to be President.

    Why would you vote for Hillary since she's untruthful?

    She really does make me sick to my stomache.

    April 16, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. Lori

    The people are Bitter ! plain and simple. Obama speaks the truth.

    April 16, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. Wallace

    To: PA
    You are suppose to click on the link!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bush has done soooo baadd in the last seven years that he needed the pope to pray for him.

    April 16, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. H.M.

    Somebody has to bless this country, "in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace.” For we have had little to none of that with this clown we have now as president. At least not the common folk. If you're extremely wealthy you've had plenty of all three. All the "justice" you can buy, (ex. Scooter); "prosperity", if I need to explain that you're brain dead; and lastly "peace", for the rich don't have to send their kids to war in order to get them into college.

    April 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  24. Ali

    Dear Wolf, you need to deal with your unresolved issues about Obama on your own. And to From PA: where are Hilly's taxes for 2007? Maybe we have to wait for the next election cycle to see them.

    April 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. Wallace

    All you Obama haters are so jeaslous of him because he's in the lead and Clinton is not. It just eats at you don't it ? HA HA HA.

    Will see in November.

    Go Obama 08'

    April 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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