Ecumenical Patriarch Congratulates President Obama on Tarheels Winning NCAA

By Jaketapper

Apr 7, 2009 5:35am

ISTANBUL — President Obama this morning met with a number of religious leaders from the area, including Grand Mufti of Istanbul Professor Mustafa Çağrıcı, Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva, and Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Yusuf Cetin.

A White House aide said that the President’s separate meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I — the Archbishop of Constantinople — had an interesting note.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I went through a long list of items accomplished by the President on this trip, congratulating him on a successful speech to the Turkish Parliament, for instance.

After going through this list, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said, "Oh — and by the way: congratulations on North Carolina."

President Obama had picked the UNC Tarheels to win the NCAA college basketball tournament, which the team did last night.

The president, according to the White House aide, laughed and smiled.

- jpt

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