WASHINGTON - Pope Francis landed in the U.S. Tuesday, and President Barack Obama welcomed a powerful political partner in the pontiff.
With the next presidential election heating up, the White House is trying to downplay the notion that the pope's trip is all about politics. However, that's a tough claim to make considering the pope's positions.
As the White House led the charge for same-sex marriage, Pope Francis has softened his own stance on gay priests. On climate change, the pope says it's "a global problem with grave implications...the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."
He's slammed trickle-down economics, saying, "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
Then, there's the president's policy on Cuba, a change the pope helped broker in secret.
Conservatives have dubbed it "the Obamafication of Pope Francis" and GOP presidential candidates have had enough. "I just think the pope is wrong," says Gov. Chris Christie. "So the fact is that his infallibility is on religious matters, not on political ones."
Some Republicans are also steamed that the White House is inviting pro-choice and pro-gay rights advocates to the pope's arrival ceremony.
But the White House insists the pope deserves a diverse audience. And while both President Obama and Pope Francis are on the same page on many issues, White House officials except them to disagree on some things, including abortion.