Fw: In-town print pool No. 2

----- Original Message -----
From: Alex Leary [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 04:38 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP
Subject: In-town print pool No. 2

The Alitalia plane – “Shepherd One” – carrying Pope Francis touched down at Joint Base Andrews at 3:49 p.m. He emerged at 4:05 p.m., descending the steps for a red carpet greeting from POTUS, FLOTUS and others noted in previous pool. (See note about greeter at bottom)

A crowd of several hundred packed into bleachers sent up a loud cheer. "We love Francis, yes we do," they chanted. "We love Francis, how about you?"

Pope Francis, wearing a simple white cassock and plain black shoes, and POTUS went inside the terminal for a brief private chat. The pope got into the back of a grayish Fiat 500L about 4:20 p.m. and waved from an open window as his motorcade departed.

"Ho, ho, hey, hey, welcome to the USA," the crowd chanted.

It is an overcast and comfortable day (72 degrees) with a few sprinkles.

At 4:34 p.m., motorcade on move back to WH.

By welcoming Pope Francis at Andrews, Obama is following precedent set by President George W. Bush, who on April 15, 2008, greeted Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis is the fourth pope to visit the United States. The first was Pope Paul VI in 1965, spending nearly 14 hours in New York. (history here: >http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/holy-see/francis/papal-visit-2015/history-papal-visits-to-united-states.cfm<)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked during the daily briefing with reporters why POTUS is “going to these lengths” to greet the pontiff.

“Pope Francis, we have seen, has really struck a chord,” Earnest replied, “in people not just across the United States but around the world. He serves as a source of inspiration not just for Catholics but of people of frankly all religions around the world …”

Earnest did not reveal the agenda for the meeting Wednesday, though said he would not describe it as a “social meeting.”

“When the president sits down with Pope Francis tomorrow in the Oval Office, the president will not arrive at that meeting with a political agenda. This is an opportunity for two men who have so many values in common to talk about the efforts that they are taking in their respective and quite different roles to advance those shared values.”

NOTE:  WH fixes name included in greeters: "Maisy, not Maisie"

Alex Leary
Tampa Bay Times
Washington Bureau Chief
(202) xxx-xxx-xxxx | xxx@email.com

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