President-elect Barack Obama visited Washington for the first time since his election last Tuesday.
By Paula Wolfson
10 November 2008
President George Bush and President-elect Barack Obama held their
first formal meeting at the White House on Monday. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports
the historic session between two men with very different political
views took place behind closed doors, and followed a tough presidential
walked inside the historic mansion along with their wives, and then
strolled alone along a paved walkway to the Oval Office for a private
It is a formal rite of presidential passage - part of peaceful transition of power as old as the nation itself.
a long hard-fought campaign, both the Republican in the White House and
the Democrat who will replace him are vowing to work together in the
coming weeks to make sure the Obama administration is ready to run the
country on its first day.
White House Press Secretary Dana
Perino says President Bush found their initial meeting to be "good,
constructive, relaxed and friendly," noting it focused on both domestic
and international issues.
She did not provide details, but
earlier she stressed that a successful transition is extremely
important because this time it is taking place at a time of economic
crisis. It is also the first transfer of power in four decades to occur
while the nation is at war.
"I would say the president and the
president-elect have both set a tone of cooperation, one of a spirit of
partnership to be able to move forward," said Dana Perino. "Of course,
they have differences on policies. But they both love their country
equally. And their love of country they are going to put first, and
then they will work together to make sure they have everything that
they need going forward."
the campaign, Senator Obama often criticized the Bush administration,
much as his Republican opponent - Senator John McCain - slammed the
views and experience of the Democratic nominee.
historian Douglas Brinkley says the change in tone may be a reflection
of the historic outcome of the election - the selection of an
African-American president with an agenda of change.
"I think it
will become known as a famous transition for the friendliness of it,"
said Douglas Brinkley. "I say this because of the early signs that they
see this as a historic moment."
A spokesman for the incoming administration says this is the first time Mr. Obama has set foot in the Oval Office.
his wife, Michelle got her initial look at the first family's living
quarters - the top floors of the White House, above the historic state
First Lady Laura Bush was her guide. Her chief of staff,
Anita McBride says Mrs. Bush realizes this is also a big transition for
the Obama family as it moves into one of the most famous houses in the
"No matter how many times you come here, you realize just
how beautiful it is, and the historic nature you feel immediately when
you walk in the footsteps of all of those that have preceded you," said
The Obama family will move into their new home on January 20 - Inauguration Day.