Where the World's Views of America Come into Focus
Rome: It was
a historic moment: George W. Bush was the first president of the U.S. to participate
in burying a Pope - despite his controversy with the Pontiff over the Iraq War.
Loud booing was heard, when on a large television monitor carried a close-up
of the President and Mrs. Bush.
George W. Bush had also brought a high-ranking delegation to Rome, which included his father, George [H.W.] Bush, his predecessor, Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. At St. Peter's Square, Bush sat in the second row of honored guests. The seats were arranged in alphabetical order, after the French names for each nation. Beside Bush sat French President Jacques Chirac. About 40 members of the U.S. Congress were also in attendance. The huge crowd gathered in the Square reacted with booing and catcalls when a large television monitor carried a close-up of the President and Mrs. Bush.
The U.S. president took the opportunity while in Rome to meet with
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Bush again expressed his regret over
the death of Nicola Calipari, the secret service officer. Calipari died one
month ago, when U.S. Troops bombarded his car, as he accompanied released Italian
hostage Giuliana Sgrena to the Baghdad Airport. The incident caused a substantial
disruption in relations between Italy and the United States.
Bush also met in Rome with American cardinals, who will participate in the election of a new Pope, beginning on April 18. After the funeral, the U.S. president journeyed back to Texas.