Obama makes first visit to Oval Office
President Bush had a “relaxed” and “friendly” meeting with President-elect Barack Obama after he and first lady Laura Bush welcomed their successors to their future home Monday, a White House spokesman said.
“The president and the president-elect had a long meeting, described by the president as good, constructive, relaxed and friendly,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement. “The president enjoyed his visit with the president-elect, and he again pledged a smooth transition to the next administration.”
Perino said the two discussed national and international issues but did not provide specifics of the conversation. Bush also gave Obama a tour of the White House’s living quarters, including the Lincoln bedroom.
Bush and Obama held a private meeting in the Oval Office, while the first lady gave incoming first lady Michelle Obama a tour of the residence.
The president and president-elect walked together along the Colonnade by the Rose Garden before entering the Oval Office together. They briefly waved to reporters along the way.
Obama and Bush were not expected to speak on camera after their meeting.
The two met in the Oval Office for just over an hour. When President George H.W. Bush hosted President-elect Bill Clinton after the 1992 election, the two talked for nearly two hours.
Monday’s meeting was a historic formality, but it was also a time for serious talks. It marked the first time Obama has visited the Oval Office.
Bush and Obama “had a broad discussion about the importance of working together throughout the transition of government in light of the nation’s many critical economic and security challenges,” said Stephanie Cutter, spokeswoman for Obama’s transition team.
“President-elect Obama thanked President Bush for his commitment to a smooth transition, and for his and first lady Laura Bush’s gracious hospitality in welcoming the Obamas to the White House,” Cutter said.
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