McCain-Obama Meeting Set in Motion by Graham
By Michael D. Shear
The upcoming meeting between President-elect Barack Obama and his onetime rival Sen. John McCain was set in motion during a phone call over the weekend between Obama and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), McCain's closest friend.
In an interview Friday, Graham said that Obama requested the meeting during a 20-minute phone call that the South Carolina senator described as a "pleasant" discussion about how they could work together effectively.
"We just talked about the desire to find something meaningful to work on," Graham said. "He was very nice to me, said that he considered me a serious, reform-minded senator that he could do business with."
Graham said that Obama raised the idea of "sitting down in a serious way with Senator McCain ... where they can find common ground." The details of the meeting were worked out between Graham and Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.
(Emanuel and Graham worked together during the campaign as the two debate negotiators.)
The campaign between McCain and Obama became nasty at the end, but Graham said the pair remain politically aligned on a number of key issues.
He said the energy package drafted by a bipartisan group of 10 senators, including himself, could easily serve as a model for cooperation with the Obama administration -- and something that McCain could help lead on.
Graham said that McCain and Obama are philosophically alike on budget reform, Social Security changes, earmark reform and immigration.
"If the administration wants to move forward with immigration again, I stand ready to do that," Graham said.
Aides to Obama said the meeting with McCain is likely to be a broad discussion about those issues where the two men agree.
One thing not expected to be on the agenda: a rehash of the sometimes not-so-nice things said on the campaign trail. Those close to both men say they have moved on and are focused on the future.
Posted at 1:11 PM ET on Nov 14, 2008
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