President Obama welcomes Pope Francis to the White House

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama and Pope Francis had a private meeting in the Oval Office.

Their meeting followed an elaborate welcome ceremony for Francis on the South Lawn of the White House that took place under sunny, blue skies in front of some 15,000 onlookers.

After the ceremony, Obama led Francis into the White House. They reappeared on a balcony and waved to the throngs huddled on the lawn and walked along the colonnade and past the famed Rose Garden on the way to the president's office.

Each leader addressed the contentious climate change issue in brief remarks to the crowd. It's one of several issues on which they agree and a likely topic of discussion in their meeting.

Another likely topic is the restoration of full diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Francis acted as something of a go-between for the longtime foes.