- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pope Francis may have pushed President Obama closer to coming out against the death penalty, White House officials said Thursday.

In a speech to Congress, the pontiff demanded an end to the death penalty, a position Mr. Obama has not yet embraced. The president has raised serious concerns about how the death penalty is applied in the U.S., including possible racial disparities and instances of death row inmates later being found innocent.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Pope Francis’ position may be nudging him in the direction of fully opposing the death penalty.

“It’s fair to say that the president’s views are influenced by statements made by the pope, most recently, but by the Catholic bishops previously,” he said.

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