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President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama will have their first face-to-face meeting at the White House today to discuss the transition of power that will take place on January 20. Considering that Obama ran for president on a platform that berated Bush’s performance, Obama’s first time visit to the oval office could be an awkward one. The men will certainly discuss the nation’s economic decline and potential remedies that can be made by a post-election congress.
“I’m going to go in there with a spirit of bipartisanship and a sense that both the president and various leaders of Congress all recognize the severity of the situation right now and want to get stuff done,” Obama said last week when asked about his meeting with Bush.
Bush also has made a point of showing his openness to facilitate a smooth transition between the two leaders and their staffs. After Obama won, Bush made the perfunctory call to invite him and Michelle Obama to the White House. “Ensuring that this transition is as smooth as possible is a priority for the rest of my presidency,” said Bush to employees of the executive office shortly after the election. “We face economic challenges that will not pause to let a new President settle in. This will also be America’s first wartime presidential transition in four decades.”
As he prepares to move into the White House, Obama’s transition team have been reviewing Bush’s executive orders, which include policies on federal funding for stem cell research and oil and gas drilling. After the review, Obama will decide which orders will be kept[MAW2] , which ones will be repealed, and which ones will be amended, said transition co-chair John Podesta. Obama is expected to reverse funding limits on stem-cell research and reverse any attempts Bush may make to ease off-shore drilling regulations.
This week Obama is expected to continue working with his economic team, said incoming White House chief of staff Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos. Emanuel is pushing for some form of government assistance for the ailing auto industry. However, he wouldn’t go so far as to endorse using some of the $700 billion rescue package to that end.
In the meantime, speculation continues regarding Obama’s cabinet. Eric Holder, former deputy attorney general of the U.S. under President Bill Clinton, is reportedly a candidate for attorney general. Neither Obama nor anyone on his transition team has given clues as to who will be chosen as cabinet members.