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At twin pope canonizations, Newt Gingrich calls Pope Francis a man of the people

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Paul Bedard,Newt Gingrich,Washington Secrets,CNN,Catholicism,Pope Francis,Italy,Vatican

The crowd was 800,000 strong for Sunday's canonization of two popes in Rome, but two Americans stood out: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista.

The couple attended the ceremonies at Vatican City where Pope Francis completed an historic and speedy rise to sainthood for John Paul II and John XXIII.

Gingrich, one of the co-hosts of CNN's nightly "Crossfire" program, attended with the same purpose as hundreds of other Americans -- to see history embrace the Catholic Church's newest populist pope.

In a statement to Secrets, Gingrich said, “Callista and I were deeply moved by Sunday's canonization of two Popes. First, seeing Pope Benedict XVI join Pope Francis was in itself historic and deeply moving. Second, witnessing Pope Francis declare John Paul II and John XXIII saints was an historic moment. Watching Pope Francis greet foreign dignitaries one by one after Mass and then jump into the Popemobile to greet the crowd was a reminder of how much this Pope likes people and is strengthened by others. It is a day we will never forget.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.