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Obama invites pope to see White House garden

'Why not?' replies Francis in Spanish

27 March, 13:41
Obama invites pope to see White House garden (ANSA) - Vatican City, March 27 - United States President Barack Obama invited Pope Francis to Washington to see the White House garden during their meeting at the Vatican on Thursday.

Obama made the invitation after giving the pope a custom-made box of seeds "These I think are carrots," he said, holding a pouch.

"Each one has a different seed in it. The box is made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States in Baltimore.

"If you have a chance to come to the White House, we can show you our garden as well," the president said referring to the famous vegetable garden tended by his wife Michelle. "Why not?" the pope replied in Spanish.

Francis gave Obama a medallion with an angel symbolising peace and solidarity and an an encyclical.

"I actually will probably read this in the Oval Office when I'm deeply frustrated," Obama said. "I'm sure it will give me strength and calm me down".

As they departed, the president joked that: "his holiness is probably the only person in the world who has to put up with more protocol".