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March 14, 2013

Pelosi, Pope Francis and the bird on the chimney

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was pretty excited about Pope Francis.

In her own words, at her weekly press conference, here's what she said--and watch how she quickly pivots back to politics:

"It's pretty exciting that we have a pope -- "habemus papam."  We're so -- as a San Franciscan, I'm particularly happy at the name that the pope has chosen, Francis.  Yesterday I wasn't sure whether the name was for St. Francis of Assisi or -- which is -- who is the patron saint of San Francisco or for St. Francis Xavier.  St. Francis of Assisi cared for all of God's creation.  St. Francis Xavier did too, and he promulgated the faith in Asia and Jesuit priests.

"Today it appears that St. Francis of Assisi is the namesake of our -- of our new pope.  Pretty exciting.

"Well, as one who has the -- in our city, "The Song of St. Francis" is our anthem, where -- the instruments of God's peace; where there is darkness, may we bring light; despair, may we bring hope; hatred, may we bring love, to forgive so that we can be forgiven.  And so it's pretty exciting, pretty thrilling to have Francis -- I guess they don't say "the first," not until they have a second.  One of    these days.  But anyway, it's pretty -- it's very exciting.  I'm just so thrilled.

"You know, you're always looking for signs.  But when the bird was on the -- did you see this, that there was a bird -- a seagull on the chimney for, like, 40 minutes before the white smoke came -- not immediate -- you know, he flew -- the bird flew away, and then later the white smoke came.  But since St. Francis has always been surrounded by birds, we're reading a great deal into the symbolism of that.

"While all that joyous activity is happening in Rome and celebrated throughout the world, last night here in Washington, the Republicans passed a budget along party lines that is nothing more than the Romney-Ryan policies that were rejected by the American people in the last election."


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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