White House press secretary Josh Earnest compared President Obama to Pope Francis, gushing that his boss and the pope have dedicated “not just their careers, but their lives” to social justice.
Earnest sounded like he was reading from a video script for Obama’s presidential library exhibit in his Tuesday press briefing, in advance of the pope’s arrival.
He explained how the president turned down high-paying jobs after law school in order to work in Chicago’s poor south side, comparing it with Pope Francis’ work with the poor in his native Argentina.
“Both men have talked, quite publicly, about their commitment to social justice,” Earnest said. “And both men have dedicated their, not just their careers, but their lives, to that effort.”
Tying Obama in to the Catholic faith, Earnest continued. “And you know, the president actually worked quite closely with other Catholics in that community, and the president has talked about that quite a bit … this has been a value that has animated the president’s career choices since he was a young man.”
Giving the pope credit for his “unique and singular” commitment, the White House’s top spokesman said, “I think the values that both men live out have some common ground.”
Asked about White House staffers’ reaction to the pope’s visit, Earnest said they were “animated by the same kinds of values that animate the pope.”
Of course, Earnest made no mention of the Vatican’s negative reaction to Obama’s guest list at the pope’s welcoming ceremony, which includes prominent gay clergy and gay rights activists. Were those the values he was speaking of?
Watch the briefing below starting at the 33:25 mark.