- The Washington Times - Friday, April 29, 2016

At the Vatican Friday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden sought absolution — not for supporting abortion rights or gay marriage, but for betting with a journalist.

Visiting Rome to urge the international community to boost cancer research, the vice president met privately with Pope Francis and later with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state.

He confessed to the cardinal that he lost a $10 bet to a New York Times reporter accompanying him, on the question of which car is faster — a Cadillac or a Tesla.

“I had to pay this man $10,” Mr. Biden told Cardinal Parolin. “He’s from The New York Times. We had a bet: Which is the faster car, the newer Cadillac or the new Musk car,” in a reference to Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk.

Mr. Biden said, “I bet the Cadillac.”

New York Times reporter Gardiner Harris explained to the cardinal, “He went for the old technology. I went for the new.”

“Oh yes?” the cardinal said.

“The Tesla’s two-tenths of a second faster,” Mr. Biden said. “But I lost. I paid my $10.”

Then the vice president raised his voice and said, “I want the record to show, I paid my $10.”

Another reporter asked, “Does that count as a confession, sir?”

“I’m seeking absolution!” Mr. Biden said.

In his address, Mr. Biden called on nations to work together to combat cancer on a global scale. He thanked Francis for counseling his family after the death of his son, Beau, last year from brain cancer.

“What is clear is that there are immense possibilities fully within our reach that did not exist even five years ago,” Mr. Biden said. “Every day thousands of people are dying, millions of people are desperately looking for hope for another day, another month, another year. One more hug, one more kiss.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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