U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed Pope Francis to the White House on Wednesday with warm praise for the popular pontiff's work to lift up the poor and his commitment to fight climate change. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: In a welcoming speech at the White House, President Obama thanked the pope for his help in thawing relations between the United States and Cuba and called his message of "mercy" one that highlights the need to take in war refugees and immigrants. The president singled out the pope's push for action on global warming, an issue that divides Democrats and Republicans in the United States. "Holy Father, you remind us that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet, God's magnificent gift to us," Obama said, according to prepared remarks. "We support your call to all world leaders to support the communities most vulnerable to a changing climate and to come together to preserve our precious world for future generations." In his turn, Pope Francis praised Obama for working to reduce air pollution and called for urgent action on climate change. "Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation," he told the audience assembled on the White House lawn. "We are living at a critical moment in history."