MONTREAT, N.C. (BP)–President Obama visited with evangelist Billy Graham April 25, becoming the 12th consecutive chief executive to meet Graham and the first sitting president to do so at the minister’s North Carolina home.
Obama and the 91-year-old Graham talked for about 30 minutes, and Graham gave Obama two Bibles — one for him and one for First Lady Michelle Obama. The visit came at the end of a short vacation for Obama in Asheville and just before he spoke at a memorial service in West Virginia for the 29 miners who died during the April 5 tragedy.
Graham’s son, Franklin, was present during the meeting.
“The conversation was very cordial, very nice,” Franklin Graham said, according to the Associated Press. “When the president got ready to leave, the president prayed for my father, my father prayed for him.”
The elder Graham prayed for the nation and for wisdom for Obama, Franklin Graham told AP, and Obama thanked God for Billy Graham’s life.
Every president since Harry Truman has met Graham, with many of the meetings coming at the White House.
“Reverend Graham has obviously been an important spiritual leader to past presidents,” deputy press secretary Bill Burton said, according to The Washington Post. “He’s a real treasure to our country, and the president appreciates the opportunity to visit him at his home.”
Graham has “some of the creaks that come with advancing age” but is “still as sharp as he ever was,” Burton said.
Said Franklin Graham, according to AP, “It’s like my father rises to the occasion.”
Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor of Baptist Press.