White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says President Obama is looking forward to delivering the May commencement speech at The University of Notre Dame. The University's invite to President Obama has ignited a fire-storm on campus. Many students and others are protesting the invitation of a president that appears to be at odds with Catholic values. Earlier this month, Obama signed an executive order lifting a ban on the use of federal funding for research on new embryonic stem cell lines.
More than 130,000 signatures have been added to an online petition. which calls the invitation "an outrage and a scandal." Gibbs told reporters in Thursday's briefing, "the President obviously believes in everyone's right to get involved and exercise their opinion." Gibbs went on to point out that President Obama met last week with Chicago Cardinal Francis George to discuss topics that "he's interested in and the Catholic Church is interested in."
The University of Notre Dame has said it will not rescind the invitation.