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      Pope Benedict congratulates Barack Obama

      VATICAN CITY - Among those sending his best wishes to Barack Obama after his election victory is Pope Benedict. The vatican says the pontiff sent Obama a personal note today, saying that he'll be praying for God's blessings on the American people and on their new president. The pope's spokesman says Obama will get the message later today when it's relayed through the U.S. ambassador to the vatican.

      The spokesman says the message calls Obama's victory a historic occasion, and offers warm wishes to Obama, his wife and family. The Vatican clearly differs with some of Obama's positions, including his support for abortion rights. But like Obama, the Vatican opposed the Iraq war.

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