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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pres. Obama To Visit Billy Graham At His Montreat Home

Pres. Obama To Visit Graham Today

President Barack Obama plans to visit with the Rev. Billy Graham today at his mountaintop home in Montreat, a spokesman for Graham's son, Franklin, confirmed this morning.

The president, who has been vacationing this weekend with the first lady in nearby Asheville, had called the Charlotte-born evangelist from Air Force in November to wish him a happy 91st birthday and to say he'd like to visit him. Graham gave Obama a passage in Proverbs to read.

Franklin Graham will also be at today's meeting, said his spokesman Mark DeMoss. The meeting will come less than a week after the Pentagon disinvited the younger Graham from speaking there because of his past comments describing Islam as an evil religion.

Graham, whose hearing and eyesight are faltering, was for decades a preacher to presidents and a frequent guest at the White House.

Democrat Obama tried to visit Graham during the 2008 presidential campaign, but Graham was not physically up to the visit that day. The evangelist did meet that year with Obama's opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain.

Though Graham has retired, he is still one of the most admired Americans, according to annual Gallup polls, and a photo with him is still something politicians and presidents are eager to get and release to the public. Last year, Sarah Palin, the GOP's 2008 vice presidential candidate and a possible presidential contender in 2012, visited Graham at Montreat in November.

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Sources: McClatchy Newspapers, Google Maps

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