Holly Bailey filed this report:
A few minutes later, Vatican TV suddenly cut to a feed that showed Obama and Benedict standing in a corner of the library, and First Lady Michelle Obama, dressed in a black dress and black lace head veil, had joined them. All three were smiling. There was no sign of the Obama daughters on Vatican TV’s footage, though reporters had been told they would be there. Your Gaggler did get to watch Obama introduce the pope to members of his inner circle, who looked collectively thrilled. Among those on hand: National Security Adviser Jim Jones, Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen, Senior Adviser David Axelrod, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and NSA adviser Denis McDonough. Upon meeting, Gibbs and McDonough kissed the pope’s hand—though other advisers, including Axelrod, who is Jewish, did not. Obama, Michelle and the aides posed for a group picture with the pontiff. For the record, McDonough, who confessed to reporters earlier this week that he was pretty excited about this event, looked the happiest we’ve ever seen him.
Afterwards, Benedict handed out official papal swag: boxes of blessed Catholic rosaries for the women and medals for the men. He presented the president with a painting of St. Peter's Square and an autographed copy of Caritas in Veritate, his recently-published take on the church's social teachings. (Do you think he meant that as a hint?) Obama, meanwhile, presented the pope with his gift: a stole that had been placed on the remains of St. John Neumann, the first naturalized U.S. citizen to named a saint. The group bid their good-byes, and it was done. The whole thing lasted a little less than an hour. The president is now on his way to Ghana, the final stop on his trip.
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