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Obama Praises Pope's Call For Greater Income Equality

A couple months after saying he's "hugely impressed" by Pope Francis, Obama gives the pontiff a shout-out in an economic address.

Posted on December 4, 2013, at 12:34 p.m. ET

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Obama really seems to like the new pope.

At a speech focused on economic equality hosted by the progressive think tank Center for American Progress Wednesday, Obama noted the pope's recent remarks on the topic that have rankled some prominent conservatives.

"Some of you may have seen this last week. The pope spoke about this at eloquent length. 'How can it be,' he wrote, 'that it's not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure but it is when the stock market loses two points?'" Obama said. "This increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country, and it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people."

The pope's speech last week took on capitalist economics, condemning "trickle-down economics" and the "idolatry of money."

The remarks led some conservatives to take on the leader of the Catholic Church. Rush Limbaugh said Pope Francis was preaching "pure Marxism." Other conservatives, like Sarah Palin, have warned the pope sounds like a "liberal," and Palin also said reports of his statements have "taken me aback."

Wednesday was not the first time Obama has praised the pontiff. In October, Obama said he was "hugely impressed" with Pope Francis.

"He seems somebody who lives out the teachings of Christ," Obama told CNBC. "Incredible humility, incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor."