While visiting with the House GOP conference for just the fourth time in his presidency, President Obama received some breaking news -- the College of Cardinals had elected a new pope. Sources in the room tell NBC News that Obama aide Rob Nabors handed the president a note saying that white smoke was billowing out of the Vatican.
Obama then told the House GOP Conference that there was a new pope, to which the Republican audience cheered and clapped. One GOP member joked, “Does that white smoke mean the tours at the White House are back on?” to which the president replied, “They’re on at the Vatican!”
Obama told reporters the meeting with the GOP “good and useful,” and said he was looking forward to finding out who the new pope would be.
Twenty minutes later when the news broke the new Pope would be Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the highest ranking Catholic Republican in the country, congratulated the new Pope and expressed delight that the Bergoglio hailed from South America, “I'm happy that they were able to come to a choice as quickly as they did. I think that reaching out beyond the traditional continent of our church is another big step in the right direction for our church.”