Obama holds first meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican

Associated Press
Pope Francis and President Barack Obama smile as they meet at the Vatican Thursday, March 27, 2014. A visibly energized President Barack Obama held a nearly hourlong audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, expressing his great admiration for the pontiff and inviting him to visit the White House. Although Obama and the church remain deeply split over abortion and contraception, Obama considers the pontiff a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality, and their private meeting in the Papal Library ran longer than scheduled. (AP Photo/Gabriel Bouys, Pool)

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President Barack Obama is holding a historic first meeting with Pope Francis, the pontiff that the president views as a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality and the poor.

Obama arrived at the Vatican Thursday morning amid the pomp and tradition of the Catholic Church, making his way to greet the pope after a long, slow procession. The pontiff and the president shook hands before sitting down with their translators at a wooden table for their meeting.

"Wonderful to be here," Obama said, calling it "a great honor." (AP)

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