Pope Arrives in Washington
WASHINGTON, D.C. —
This week, the most popular leader in Washington is not a member of Congress or even present Obama. It's, Pope Francis.
The pontiff is on U.S. soil for the first time, arriving at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.
He was greeted by President Obama and his family and after a brief private meeting he made his journey through the streets of Washington ending at the Apostolic Nunciature, also known as the Vatican's embassy, where he will spend his evenings while staying in the nation's Capitol.
"I don't recall in my adult life a Pope who has captured the imagination of so many people worldwide as this Pope," said Senator Angus King.
Recent poll numbers show Pope Francis with a whopping 70 percent favorability rating; compared to just 49 percent for President Barack Obama and only 15 percent for Congress.
"The pope has always been an incredibly popular figure no matter who he is. This pope tends to be a little bit more of a media star," said Senator Chris Murphy.
"People are excited to see the pope here, obviously the leadership he represents not only in the United States but around the globe. People are anxious to hear what he says," said Senator Cory Gardner.
And what will he say? Nobody seems to know just yet but you could safely surmise it'll include immigration and climate change and that leads to the next question, will Congress listen?
"Most of the time when the Pope speaks, people listen. But the fact that he is going to Congress and he's gonna talk to the people who run the most amazing country in the world," said Frank Persico, The Catholic University of America.
"I don't see this being partisan. You know, I expect to hear the Pope call for people to get along, I think he's going to be bringing a message of love," said Representative Bill Johnson.
Pope Francis had no events scheduled Tuesday evening and will need plenty of sleep as his day starts early Wednesday with a welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of White House and an official meeting with President Obama.