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Setting Aside Rivalry, Obama to Meet with McCain

Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain greet each other during the third presidential debate in October. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Michael A. Fletcher
President-elect Barack Obama, continuing his efforts to reach out to former rivals as he plans his transition, is scheduled to meet today with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whom he defeated in the Nov. 4 presidential election, in downtown Chicago.

Joining the two in the meeting in Obama's Chicago transition office will be Obama's chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), a close friend of McCain's.

While Obama and McCain clashed on a host of issues during the hard-fought election campaign, they also agreed on others, including the urgency of combating climate change and the importance of working across the partisan divide.

Obama reemphasized that point when discussing the nation's problems during an interview with "60 Minutes" broadcast last night. While notng the need for a large infusion of government spending to get the economy going, he also paid tribute to free markets.

"I think our basic principle that this is a free market system -- and that that has worked for us, that it creates innovation and risk taking -- I think that's a principle that we've got to hold to as well," he said. "But what I don't want to do is get bottled up in a lot of ideology and 'Is this conservative or liberal?' My interest is finding something that works."

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 17, 2008; 8:53 AM ET
Categories:  The Daybook  
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Next: Obama and McCain Hold Photo Op and Issue Joint Statement on Meeting


After the campaign of personal destruction that Senator McCain waged, I would keep things civil with McCain, but certainly not reward him in any meaningful way. After all, why would McCain want to work with a 'socialist,' who 'pals around with terrorists?' Let's remove the burden, and not give him th option.

Speaking of right-wing extremism, Michael Savage (aka Michael Alan Weiner) has deemed the death of Obama's grandmother 'suspicious.'

The line is crossed. Boycott, anyone?

Posted by: scootmandubious | November 17, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Contrary to mainstream media conventional wisdom, Barack Obama's most pressing task at hand as President-elect is not dealing with the economic crisis -- as these meetings with his political rivals attest.

Before he can wield power, he first must move to consolidate his power and disarm potential rogue elements within the bureaucracy that may be tempted to "test," or even 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 an absence of meaningful oversight by Congress, 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 communications, surveillance and intelligence.

President-elect Obama would be wise to co-opt any potential bureaucratic resistance by retaining the services of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and, at least for the short term, Attorney General Michael Mukasey. FBI Director Robert 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 national security officials.

Then the President-elect 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 a capability for independent decision-making, putting the national interest above partisan political or ideological considerations.

By giving these three officials 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" vigilante squads are "community stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 17, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

If only one principled stand of Senator McCain survived the campaign, surely it was his committment to continuing the war in Iraq to a clear end. President-elect Obama is correct in keeping McCain involved in a meaningful way as the first step in building the bipartisan foreign policy he seeks to achieve.

Posted by: thewolf1 | November 17, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Yikes! So Amnesty John McCain and Open Borders Obama are meeting to plot how they
can grant 30 Million Illegal Aleins Total
Immediate Amnesty,Free US Citizenship and
Drivers Licenses are they now then?...

And so,will Amnesty John McCain announce
Messiah Barack Hussein Obama has just
Converted McCain to a Marxist/Socialist
Liberal Democrat and Amnesty John McCain
also will announce his full support for
Open Borders Illegal Alien Lover In Chief
Messiah and Panderer Barack Hussein Obama
tearing down the fence,letting another
30 Million Illegal Aliens into the USA and
allowing Illegal Aliens to steal American
Workers Jobs,Granting Instant Amnesty to
all Illegal Aliens already in the USA,full
pardons to all Illegal Alien Criminals and
Cop Killers and Drug Dealers,Immediate Full
USA Citizenshio and Drivers Licenses and
Democratic Party Membership as well.

Posted by: claudinelong | November 17, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

McCain sold his soul, and his credibility, during his campaign. He approved the incendiary speech language Palin delivered at her rallies throughout his campaign, while also becoming involved in this deliberate attempt to divide a nation.

This has given the rubber stamp of approval to, and opened the door for, racist groups who are now threatening the very life of our new president.

He picked a completely unqualified illiterate hate generating machine for his VP. In contrast, Obama will vet his new puppy more thoroughly.

McCain has NOTHING to offer the American people. What he has done is unforgivable and he should be unseated, along with Palin.

Posted by: dematheart | November 17, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

While gazing into the crystal ball this

morning , it became obvious that Obama has

zero intention of fulfilling any of his

campaign promises . How long will the

honeymoon illusion last before the real

harshness of life manifest ?

Posted by: RaZoR777 | November 17, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

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