"Wonderful meeting you, I’m a great admirer," Obama said. "Thank you sir, thank you."
The men continued into the Papal library, where they sat on opposite sides of Pope Francis's desk.
"Thank you," Obama said, "for receiving me."
The men exchanged gifts after the meeting. Obama gave Pope Francis a custom-made seed chest featuring fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House garden. It is made of American leather and reclaimed wood from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, according to the White House. The Pope announced earlier this year he would open the garden in his summer residence to the public.
"These I think are carrots," Obama said, holding a pouch. "Each one has a different seed in it. The box is made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States in Baltimore."
Pope Francis gave Obama two medallions and a copy of his writing "The Joy of the Gospel." Obama said he would read it when he needs a boost. "I'm sure it will give me strength and calm me down," he said.
Obama told Pope Francis he could visit the White House garden. Pope Francis responded in Spanish, "Como no," which translates to "why not?" Or "for sure."
Obama joked that he found the one person who has to put up with more officialdom.
"His Holiness is probably the only person in the world who has to put up with more protocol than me," Obama said.