In the first Washington Post-ABC News poll since the Democratic nomination contest ended, Obama and McCain run evenly among political independents, a shift toward the presumptive Republican nominee over the past month. On the issues, independents see McCain as more credible on fighting terrorism and are split evenly on who is the stronger leader and better on the Iraq war. But on other key attributes and issues — including the economy — Obama has advantages among independents.
The two men spoke for half an hour in the 12th century Tower of St John, a private area in the Vatican gardens which is used by the pope for private reflection.
The usual protocol for heads-of-state is a meeting in the pope’s library in the Apostolic Palace, but a spokesman for the Vatican said Benedict wanted to reward Mr Bush for the “warmth” of his reception at the White House earlier this year.