Washington Secrets

Biden: 'That close' to having an American pope

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Fresh off his visit to Rome to watch the Vatican's new installation of Pope Francis, Vice President Biden said that the College of Cardinals came "that close" to picking an American over the Argentinian Francis.

"We almost made it big... We almost had a chance at power. We came that close, that close," said Biden Wednesday during a breakfast of pancake and eggs for Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the veep's Naval Observatory residence.

Biden said that Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley was among the finalists.

According to a pool report on the breakfast, Biden "joked that it got down to a vote and Terry Donilon - the cardinal's communications director and brother of White House National Security Adviser Tom - 'said something wrong.'"

Said Biden to the Taoiseach: "We could have had an American Irish Catholic pope but we would have shared him with you."

Biden did reveal that he met with the pope and that he "seems like all he is advertised to be - a genuine, generous, humble man."

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