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Bush, Obama Meet Today at White House

President Bush walks from the Oval Office to board Marine One on the South Lawn at the White House, Nov. 10, 2008. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Updated 11:35 a.m.
By Michael D. Shear and Dan Eggen
President Bush will play host today to the man who plans a quick repudiation of his policies, providing President-elect Barack Obama a tour of the White House before meeting with him in private in the Oval Office.

The current and future presidents will smile for the cameras as Obama and his wife, Michelle, visit to the house they and their two daughters will occupy for the next four years.

But the smiles will likely mask the tension between the two men. Obama won by campaigning against Bush as much as he did by campaigning against Sen. John McCain. He condemned Bush's "failed policies" and urged voters to reject "another four years" of a Bush presidency.

Now, Obama is likely to move rapidly to undo some of Bush's legacies: His transition chief, John Podesta, said over the weekend that Obama may use executive orders to ease restrictions on stem cell research, change torture policies that Democrats opposed and slow down plans to drill for oil offshore.

And in the longer-term, Obama has pledged to end the Iraq war, reverse almost a decade of Bush economic policy and take a dramatically different approach to health and social policy.

That reality will hang between the two men today. But Obama said Friday that he will not "anticipate problems" before the meeting. And Obama will need Bush's help and guidance as the current occupant of the Oval Office prepares to hand over responsibility for terrorism, war planning and the economic crisis.

At the same time, officials and outside experts have said in recent days that the Obama team and the Bush White House are working with exceptional cooperation to prepare for the transition.

From the public perspective, the visit is likely to be purely symbolic, with any substance concealed behind the well-guarded doors. The official White House schedule indicates there will be only a brief chance at photographs and video footage as the Obamas arrive.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said this morning that the meeting is "very private," adding that "I'm sure that this won't be the only time that they speak."

The president and first lady will greet their successors at the South Portico of the White House at 2 p.m., according to the schedule. After the initial greeting, the couples will move into the Diplomatic Reception Room to meet with the chief usher of the White House, Perino said. Bush and Obama will then stroll along the Colonnade on their way to the Oval Office to meet alone, with no aides present; Laura Bush and Michelle Obama will peel away for their tour.

There are no planned remarks from the Bushes or Obamas listed on the schedule, though it's possible that one or more of them might say a few words. The event is known as "pool only," meaning that only a limited number of pre-assigned reporters, photographers and camera crews may attend.

The Oval Office meeting itself is scheduled to begin at 2:20 p.m. There are no public events on the schedule, though both the White House and Obama campaign are likely to release statements afterwards.

Obama has never set foot in the Oval Office before, and has had only a handful of direct interactions with Bush. In his book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama describes one of his earliest meetings with Bush, at a 2005 White House event for new lawmakers shortly after Obama was elected to the Senate. Here's how Obama tells the story:

"'Obama!' the President said, shaking my hand. 'Come here and meet Laura. Laura, you remember Obama. We saw him on TV during election night. Beautiful family. And that wife of yours--that's one impressive lady.'

"'We both got better than we deserve, Mr. President,' I said, shaking the First Lady's hand and hoping that I'd wiped any crumbs off my face. The President turned to an aide nearby, who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the President's hand.

"'Want some?' the President asked. 'Good stuff. Keeps you from getting colds.'

"Not wanting to seem unhygienic, I took a squirt."

According to Obama's account, Bush went on to offer the new U.S. senator from Illinois a little advice. "You've got a bright future," Bush said, according to the book. "Very bright. But I've been in this town for a while and, let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunnin' for ya.

"And it won't necessarily be coming from my side, you understand," Bush continued. "From yours, too. Everybody'll be waiting for you to slip, know what I mean? So watch yourself."

"Thanks for the advice, Mr. President," Obama responded.

Michelle Obama will also spend time in Washington today scouting schools for the couple's two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, according to sources familiar with her plans. Both official and unofficial Washington have been buzzing with speculation since the election about where the girls -- currently in 2nd and 5th grade -- will be hitting the books come January.

By Washington Post Editor  |  November 10, 2008; 8:41 AM ET
Categories:  43 , B_Blog  
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Next: Michelle Obama Visits Georgetown Day School


Outgoing President Bush's comment to President-elect Obama "You've got a bright future,very bright," I thought was very condescending and out of touch with reality.

For heaven's sake...Obama was just elected president! A bright future? The future is now!

Posted by: runnnerpm | November 11, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"You mean like the unchallenged rule that the Republicans gave us the last eight years? A lot of good it's done us having two party's. One takes power, then we pay the other to sit around and do nothing. "

Oh please. Democrats fillibustered republican initiatives every bit as much as republicans have been fillibustering democrat proposals the last 2 years. If you think republicans had "unchallenged rule" you do not know what you are talking about. Democrats have a bigger majority now than the republicans did ANY of the last 8 years so they have NO excuses.

Stop just believing what you hear in the "news" and actually do some research yourself. You might be surprised at what you find.

Posted by: Cryos | November 10, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Note all the MSM publications after the elections saying things like "we no longer need a republican party the democratic party can evolve to include everyone." Welcome to the first steps in trying to eliminate a multi party system in favor of unchallenged rule giving up our sovereignty to the UN. Watch Obama and democrats' loyalty to UN courts and programs which of course favor everyone but the US


You mean like the unchallenged rule that the Republicans gave us the last eight years? A lot of good it's done us having two party's. One takes power, then we pay the other to sit around and do nothing. When the power is split down the middle all you get are arguments and the people lose out every time. A perfect example is the Democrats trying to push a stimulus package, and the Republicans demand tacking on a trade deal with Columbia to let it pass. Now you know as well as I do that a trade deal with Columbia will not benefit the American people. It will fill the pockets of some good old boys and make it easier to ship keys into the US though. Where are the Republicans trying to take this country? All I've seen is destruction. Maybe one of you Republicans can fill me in on what you voted for, because I don't get it.

Posted by: HemiHead66 | November 10, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow! After all this time in office, 8 years of running the country into the ground, and all Bush has is fear to throw out in conversation? Everyone should pray for Bush’s soul and his family’s soul because it’s obvious they are in their own personal misery!

Posted by: vicbennettnet | November 10, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Note all the MSM publications after the elections saying things like "we no longer need a republican party the democratic party can evolve to include everyone." Welcome to the first steps in trying to eliminate a multi party system in favor of unchallenged rule giving up our sovereignty to the UN. Watch Obama and democrats' loyalty to UN courts and programs which of course favor everyone but the US.

The reality is that under the situation it would have been near impossible for republicans to win so nothing has changed so far as the party system. Regardless of who is at fault generally the party who is president at the time of economic problems loses out. Despite media's posturing far left policies are unconstitutional so the only way to get that changed is activist supreme court justices. Hopefully that doesn't happen.

Posted by: Cryos | November 10, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

You write that "...the smiles will likely mask the tension between the two men."

I doubt that the so-called "tension" will amount to a hill of beans. Just like journalists, politicians are a hypocritical and cynical lot. The American people have learned to consider the source.

"Bird of a feather..."

Posted by: JAH3 | November 10, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"Too much investment into
technology and too little into human intelligence. I hope Obama will ask our friends in UK and Israel to help us create mean, lean, and highly effective intelligence and counter-intelligence apparatus."

Well I wouldn't expect the democratic party to do this. Clinton along with downsizing military got rid of human intelligence in favor of ELINT which is one of the factors that left us vulnerable to 9/11 and faulty intelligence.

Hopefully Obama is good for the country but judging by his voting history and the current state of the democratic party I expect him to care more about redistributing america's resources to the 3rd world than about americans.

The new Kyoto Protocol and the Global Poverty Act will alone bury us in trillions of dollars of redistributed wealth over the next 10 years.

Most likely the US will become just another 3rd world country like most of the rest of the world. A ballooning population of ignorant people that breed like rabbits and we stop forward looking advancements just to try to feed and house the increasing population which continues to overpopulate.

We'll just become another tool of the UN one world where the majority of people are groveling idiots depending on the government to run their lives and all freedoms are lost in the name of helping people.

Posted by: Cryos | November 10, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The first thing that Obama should review is the power granted to his office by the Constitution. Bush, along with the Senate and Congress, lived in a state of denial that one exists. We have had more than enough of this.

There is nothing in the Constitution that allows the federal government to regulate drilling, mining, or emissions anywhere. There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents the states from regulating mining, drilling, or emissions within their sovereign borders.

Federal intrusions on state rights has already caused on civil war and the loss of 700,000 lives.

This is why the federal government has grown so big and borrowed, spent, wasted, and given away over $12 trillion dollars.

If you are concerned about drilling, mining, and emissions, contact your state legislature.

Posted by: websmith1 | November 10, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

We gave merit a chance and elected Barrack Hussein Obama ( BHO ) as President.Hope he has a judicious mix of minority community people in his appointments,instead of the usual run of the mill picks.Goodluck" BHO" you rock.


Posted by: s007bala | November 10, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

MichieMich-Granted Larry Summers was also there at the End of Clinton. However, as the Treasury Secretary, I wonder if he was as involved with the Plots Geithner set up, as Geithner and the Wall Street Bankers.

Both actually have Dimocrat support for the job. AGAIN, I would like some REAL Investigative Journalism done about BOTH of their culpability in the Deregulation Clinton arranged in the last two years of his Term! Along with a whole lot more edification of the events thereof!

THAT, is another example of what an Executive Branch, being too Complicit with a Congress, can do to the People!

IT is what the Founding Fathers wanted to prevent, when they TRIED separating the Powers!

BOHICA America! :-(

Posted by: SAINT---The | November 10, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

If Barack Obama can resist laughing when he sees W. wearing a Alfred E. Newman smile while sitting on Dick Cheney's knee, I will be even more impressed with Obama than I am. If Michelle can resist hysterical hooting I'd be awestruck!

Hope you'all have a great meetin'

Posted by: bgreen2224 | November 10, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The ABC news story breaks that Emanuel was smack in the middle of Freddie Mac scandal , and is not hot on the google news list?

I am actually suprised you guys made it with this vetting.

I hope press is not quashed so completely we will never get the scoop about the alleged corruption stories about Hawaii, that hid gender and color bias cases (including rape of police women 1994 Bonnie Burke police woman case 2004 in higher courts found Hawaii's system broken), to keep the large corrupt network in place that was actually a birth certificate mill and human smuggling ring.

The monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil, seem to have escaped from the zoo today.

God Bless the press for attempting to vet the mess, and expose, as they were granted rights to do under the Constitution.
Late is better than never.

Posted by: dottydo | November 10, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

MichieMich-I thought I had seen where O'Bomba had picked him for Treasury. BUT, then the Postal ran the clip about Barry's Transition Co-Chair, Valerie Jarrett saying that the Media is assuming things, that have not been done yet.

Sooooo, I hope I heard wrong-or, that maybe Barry, true to form, put out a "Feeler" to see reaction first before adjusting his course.

In a Nut-Shell: Novakula brought out he fact that before Geithner wound up controlling the New York FED, he was a White House Staffer for (Not too) Slick Willie! That in 1998 he was pivotal in getting Clinton to de-Regulate the FED, and made Changes that set up much of the Housing Crises we have now.
As you are aware, Novak's Column is space limited. There was and IS, MUCH more that I would like to know about just what Clinton, Geithner, and those Wall Street Bankers pulled!

To have been so instrumental in the arrangements, only to then move up into several key positions involving the changes made-is simply; Damning!

Sort of like Barack's World Poverty Act, that pertains to the Executive's authorities!

Paging: Novakula!

Novakula-You are wanted in the Senate's Chambers! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | November 10, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Geithner's not appointed yet? (I admit I dont know anything about him. Novak's a creep, but I would like to read his article. He's a smart creep)

Larry Summers would be a brave choice in my opinion. He's a dastardly curmudgeon but I think he can get the job done and he DOES have a track record. (though probably not one you care for)

Thanks for discussing- I love to disagree agreeably!!!

Posted by: MichieMich | November 10, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Obama has taken the wheel of the American Redneck Mini Van. The children are CEO's, Union Bosses, Army Generals, immigrants, Catholics, and baptists. .Are we there yet? ............

Posted by: glclark4750 | November 10, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Dear Barack,
Godspeed and start wearing purple!

"Start wearing purple, wearing purple!..."
-Gogol Bordello

Posted by: VMR1 | November 10, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

scrivener50 wrote:

That's precisely why he should NOT retain any bush holdovers from positions of power. Therefore a comprehensive "chistka" should be his first priority.
His second priority should be to eliminate the proto-fascist Homeland Security Dept., and replace CIA and NSA with effective spying and counter-spying agencies. In this respect the US has failed miserably having kept bloated, redundant expensive, federal intelligence agencies that have had a very low usefulness coefficient for many decades. Too much investment into
technology and too little into human intelligence. I hope Obama will ask our friends in UK and Israel to help us create mean, lean, and highly effective intelligence and counter-intelligence apparatus.

Posted by: VMR1 | November 10, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

MichieMich- I am not too happy at all with the initial decisions I am seeing. While some of the appointees do have Track Records, that qualify them based on something Barack lacks-Experience, their Track Records are what I am against!
The most notable source of fear:

Timothy Geithner! :-o

The Washington Post would do everyone a favor, by re-printing Robert Novak's column about Geithner, and his Culpability in the Setting up of the Wall Street Bankers with the FED, and more! HE was the Architect behind the problems that costed Americans $700 BILLION! My anger at him is that Garbage led to the destruction of my Company's Market, and eventually;
My Company!
Serious Heat needs to be applied to that dude BEFORE he is raised even higher in Power! He is the President of the New York FED now!

Imagine THAT!

It is a SHAME, that Novakula is being sent to Pasture, at a time this Country needs a Journalist like him.

Hey BO, keep an eye on that Grill! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | November 10, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Saint, I think you have a point. Treacherous waters ahead for Obama. However, he has so far earned my confidence at least style-wise. His soft spoken, cool demeanor hide strong determination.

So, if you like where he wants to go, then it's probably OK (I hope) to trust his instincts.

However for those who think he has a magic wand to fix everything overnight, bitter disillusionment ahead, which will be bad news for the new Prez's approval ratings.

Ha! If it weren't for that 'driving the country into a ditch' comment, he might have gotten hot dogs AND chili for lunch! ;^)

Posted by: MichieMich | November 10, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse


• Retain Gates and Mukasey along with Mueller

• Lay plans to put "homeland" agencies under the wing of Defense, Justice and Treasury

Contrary to mainstream media convention wisdom, Barack Obama's most pressing task at hand is not dealing with the economic crisis.

He must first move to consolidate his power and disarm potential rogue elements within the bowels of the apparachik that may be tempted to subvert his leadership.

Major elements of the security complex no longer fall under the purview of the Department of Defense or the Justice Department. Their independence, and lack of meaningful oversight, make these entities a potential breeding ground for resistance to his ascension to the presidency.

The situation is compounded by the fact that some of these entities are privy to virtually all channels of communications and surveillance.

President-elect Obama would be wise to co-opt any potential resistance by retaining the services of Defense Secretary Gates, and, at least for the short term, Attorney General Mukasey. FBI Director Mueller's term isn't up until 2010; the retention of Gates and Mukasay, along with the continued service of Mueller, would act as a powerful deterrent to potential rogue actors who do not fall under the command of those three key security officials.

The President-elect should immediately announce the retention of these Bush administration appointees. Then he should lay plans for a Congressionally-mandated reorganization that would once again bring the agencies of the Department of Homeland Security under the direct purview and authority of existing cabinet departments -- notably, Defense, Justice and Treasury.

Such a reorganization would establish greater accountability on the part of the Homeland Security agencies, and would better facilitate meaningful Congressional oversight.

This reorganization would retire the title "Homeland Security," which is linguistically reminiscent of the rhetoric of Nazi Germany.

Gates and Mukasey, it could be argued, already have demonstrated their capability for independent decision-making that puts the good of the nation above partisan politics. By giving them a vote of confidence now, President-elect Obama would demonstrate bi-partisanship while deterring potential rogue resistance to his leadership.


Not as long as government-supported extrajudicial targeting squads are "community stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:




Posted by: scrivener50 | November 10, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse




Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | November 10, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that as Barack is put into Bushie's shoes, he will begin to realize WHY Bushie had 33% Approval, and Barry's Congress a dismal 11%. It will be interesting to see if Barry is going to become his own man, or one of the Biggest Puppets ever to Appear to be President.

While Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel have both already been shown trying to decide for Barry as much as Biden already has, Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry, Harry Reid, Tom Daschle, and worst of all-George Soros, have remained out of the Picture(So Far!).

LOL! If Bushie is true to form, Hot Dogs for Lunch! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | November 10, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Well, at least BO already measured the drapes,so that's done! ;^)

Posted by: MichieMich | November 10, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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