A First-Time Visitor to Washington Plans to Hit All the Sights

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 7.15.02 AMCARL HULSE Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Good Wednesday morning. On the day the pope came to Washington and drew nearly all the nations cameras with him, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont did their best to stay in view, covering the high costs of prescription drugs, the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and low-wage workers. But, on Wednesday, all eyes, including President Obamas and those of the gathering thousands, will be on the man in white.

Pope Francis will celebrate his first full day in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, meeting at the White House with Mr. Obama and participating in a parade for thousands of adoring admirers before canonizing the Rev. Junípero Serra, an 18th-century Spanish missionary, in a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Mr. Obama is expected to welcome the pope, who received a rock-star greeting as he arrived in Washington on Tuesday, complete with chants and shrieking crowds, by taking note of his unique standing in the world and his unifying presence. White House officials said the president had not mapped out any political agenda.

“This is an opportunity for two men who have so many values in common to talk about the efforts that they are taking in the respective and quite different roles to advance those shared values,” said Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman.
The pope’s visit has stirred the sometimes-jaded capital, which can be blasé or even hostile about the presence of foreign leaders and dignitaries. In fact, congressional officials are trying to tamp down enthusiasm for the pope’s address to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, urging their colleagues to conduct themselves with dignity — a trait not always exercised.
“We actually hope that we can show a little more decorum to the pope than we sometimes do at State of the Union addresses,” Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, a member of the Republican leadership, said on Tuesday. “It is our hope on this side of the aisle and the Democratic side of the aisle that we can avoid the dueling ovations, the jack-in-the-box standing for this and for that.”
“Listen to one of the most famous and most respected voices on the face of the earth with the respect and decorum that is due,” Mr. Wicker said.