Boehner Declines Obama's Offer To Attend Pope Francis Inauguration

Owen Poindexter
John Boehner declined an offer from President Obama to attend the inauguration of Pope Francis I as part of the U.S. delegation. Too busy or too much time in a confined space with Joe Biden?

John Boehner undoubtedly appreciated Obama's offer to attend Pope Francis' inauguration, but he had to turn it down. You can vote on why below. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons
John Boehner, Speaker of the House and a Catholic, declined an offer from President Obama to join Vice President Joe Biden, also Catholic, as part of the U.S. delegation at the inauguration of Pope Francis I. Speaker Boehner was courteous in his rejection:
“I am grateful for the invitation to attend the papal investiture in Rome with Vice President Biden, and would like to be able to join the trip.  Unfortunately, my duties in the House next week – including hosting President Obama and the Prime Minister of Ireland at the Capitol on Tuesday, and the debate on the budget – make that impossible,” Boehner wrote. “I wish the vice president all the best in his journey and hope he communicates the prayers and warm regards of every American, especially Catholics, to the first pope from the Americas.”
Boehner's Democratic counterpart, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, hopes to take his place.

"I hope so," she replied with a chuckle, when asked if she was invited. Pelosi revealed that she was riveted by the whole pope selection process.

“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,” Pelosi described. “St. Francis has always been surrounded by birds. We’re reading a great deal into the symbolism of that.”

“It’s pretty exciting that we have a pope. Habemus papam!” Pelosi exclaimed . “As a San Franciscan, I’m particularly happy at the name that the pope has chosen, Francis.” St. Francis is both the inspiration for the name of the new pope and of Pelosi's hometown, San Francisco.

As for Boehner, one can't help but wonder how disappointed he is to not be going. This is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but to get there, he would have to take a 10 hour flight...with Joe Biden. A lot of people love Joe Biden, but conservatives tend to see him as an annoying buffoon. Then again, Boehner's a friendly guy. I could see this going either way. What do you think?