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Obama sends ‘thoughts and prayers’ to ailing Mandela
President Obama is offering "thoughts and prayers" to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who is in the hospital with a recurring lung infection.
The hero of the anti-apartheid movement, 94, is reportedly responding positively to treatment and is fully conscious and aware, a presidential spokesman told USA Today Thursday. Doctors hospitalized the former president in an abundance of caution given Mr. Mandela's age and history.
During a Thursday meeting with four African leaders, Mr. Obama told reporters that he was "deeply concerned" about Mr. Mandela's health.
"He's a hero I think to all of us," he said. "I'm sure that I speak for the other leaders here. And we will be keeping him in our thoughts and prayers, and his entire family."
Earlier Thursday, White House spokesman Joshua Earnest said the president had the opportunity to meet former President Mandela when he traveled to Africa as a senator, and the two have since had several telephone conversations.
The first lady and the Obamas' daughters, Malia and Sasha, met Mr. Mandela in his home when they traveled to Africa in 2011.
"I know that they found that to be a very powerful visit for them," Mr. Earnest said.
Mr. Obama spent Thursday afternoon meeting with Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma; Senegal President Macky Sall; Malawi President Joyce Banda; and Cape Verde Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Neves.
He talked with the leaders about ways to improve economic prosperity, tackle regional challenges, and transnational threats including terrorism and drug cartels.
Thanking the leaders, he told them: "You should know you have a great friend in the United States, in the people of the United States and in the president of the United States."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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