URGENT ¥¥¥ Obama hails 'first pope from the Americas'

US President Barack Obama offered "warm wishes" on behalf of the American people to newly elected Pope Francis I on Wednesday, hailing the Argentine as "the first pope from the Americas."

"As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years, that in each other we see the face of God," he said.