News Culture

President Obama and Pope Francis Meet, Compare Cars: A Blow-by-Blow Account

Fiat and a Caddy? Like Felix and Oscar, these two guys...
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Pope Francis, beloved for his humility, empathy for the poor and progressive views on climate change, is currently visiting the United States. He’s in a Fiat 500L, a can of Italian tonno to which Fiat attaches fifteen-inch wheels and sells for $19,345. While other papal seats have opted for more leather and luxury—the longstanding Popemobile of choice was a Mercedes-Benz—Pope Francis has chosen to tour the country with the world’s highest rate of gun ownership in a stylized, motorized bike helmet. 

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Olivier Douliery/Getty

(We hear he actually requested a Vespa—Older, you know, maybe a little dented with a peace symbol on the bumper—but the Swiss Guard nixed the idea over concerns about flapping robes and exposure of the Papal Thigh.)

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Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

To greet the arriving Pope in Maryland, President Barack Obama showed up in The Beast, an eight-ton, million-dollar, heavily-armored Cadillac truck-limousine with its own oxygen supply. After greeting a line of dignitaries, the two world leaders paused to compare rides through a translator:

President Obama, straining to open the several-hundred-pound reinforced door, invited His Holiness to consider the rugged construction of his armored Cadillac.

Able to withstand a shot from a .44 Magnum, should folks get a little feisty, the President chuckled, beaming with nationalistic pride in all things large, armoured, truck-like and chrome-dipped.

Ill at ease around the materialistic Cadillac, the Pope allowed, Yes, it is astounding what a modest worker can create.

In exchange, Francis offered that his Fiat had trouble finding ninth gear.

The Fiat, which reads to most American eyes as a fleet-footed bread box, offers “exceptional fuel-economy,” said the Pope.

Yes, very important, Obama shouted over the thunderous rumble of his vehicle’s 6-plus-liter Duramax diesel engine.

The Pontiff, still enamoured of his wee chariot of chastity, leaned conspiratorially towards the President and shared that, in the backseat of his car, was a bottle of spring water. Fresh, clean, and pure!

The tarmac summit nearing its end, Obama slung his frame down into The Beast, nodding vigorously.

Water—great! I ride next to several quarts of my own blood should I need emergency transfusion. Also, some Sun Chips. Nothing like the little amenities!

With that, the two men parted; the President’s corpulent, impervious limo heading one way, and the Pope’s motorized wash-bucket another, following a fleet of heavy-duty Chevy Suburbans like a wishful penguin after a pod of whales.