President Barack Obama attempted the impossible during his commencement speech at Notre Dame University in Indiana on Sunday: He asked those on both sides of the abortion debate to “join hands in common effort.”

The Washington Post:

“As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?”

Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters gathered outside the gates of the university as Obama spoke, waving signs and chanting protests. Police arrested several people. Back in Washington, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said it was “inappropriate” for Notre Dame to give Obama an honorary degree.

Billboards on the nearby Indiana Tollway read, “Notre Dame: Obama is pro abortion choice. How dare you honor him.” On Fox News Sunday, Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, said Obama’s position on abortion “contradicts what it means to be president.”

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