December 17th, 2008
07:36 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama, Bush planning to meet again - with a twist

President Bush and President-elect Obama will meet with three former presidents in January.
President Bush and President-elect Obama will meet with three former presidents in January.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has learned that President-elect Barack Obama and President Bush have privately agreed to try and come together again in January for a second post-election meeting at the White House, but this time they're inviting the three living former presidents as well.

Two sources familiar with the plans tell CNN that at their first post-election meeting in the Oval Office on Nov. 10, Obama proposed that the two men get together again before the inaugural along with former presidents Jimmy Carter, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton.

The sources said the current President quickly agreed it would be a good idea and all sides are trying to make it happen somewhere between Jan. 1 and the Jan. 20 inaugural, though coordinating the schedules of five onetime commanders-in-chief can be difficult.

The high-powered meeting is another sign of how closely the Obama and Bush teams have been working together to try and make sure the first post-9/11 transfer of power goes smoothly.

"It's been unbelievably cooperative," said one Democratic official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the private conversations between the President and President-elect.

Update, 6:36 p.m.: The White House has confirmed that the meeting will take place on January 7. "President Bush will host a lunch for President-elect Obama and former Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Bush," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told CNN. Perino also said the White House would release additional details about the meeting as January 7 approaches.

soundoff (210 Responses)
  1. david bryan

    I believe that the former presidents should have brainstormed years ago.

    December 17, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. bob j

    if the past current and future president can come together it will show the world how a real democracy is suppose to work it will send a strong and powerful message three cheers to all of them if they pull this off usa usa usa

    December 17, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Phil in KC

    What a great idea! I'm glad to hear they're doing this. Although – I do hope security is tight with all these gentlemen together in one room.

    December 17, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Professionalism

    Says something good about Obama's professionalism.

    December 17, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. David

    It will most likely go like this W. either do your job or leave now!

    December 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Kathy

    Aren't we tired of the Kennedy's yet? Joe Kennedy was a bootlegger who used the mafia to get JFK in office. Not to mention his sleeping with all the movies stars. Once in office, JFK slept with anyone in a skirt. Bobby Kennedy had John Kennedy's left overs. Jackie Kennedy was seeing a married man till she died. We should mention the biggest cover up in history Chappaquiddick. Remember good old Ted. These are the people our country glorifies?

    This is actually a sick book if someone wrote it like it was lived without the cover ups and the lies.

    December 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Shari, NY

    Best of luck to the incoming and outgoing presidents! (Make sure all the reporters take their shoes off before the "pow wow"),

    December 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. sunshine

    i pray that our country is finally coming together, both parties need each other, america first, it's time to stop all the name calling and get down to what is really imporant, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    December 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. you gotta give him this...

    ...he is handling the transition with grace.

    I don't like Bush, but he's making a good effort here, and I like it.

    December 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Craeg fr Canada

    This is a brilliant example of a consultitive process and hopefully it reflects 'putting the country first'.

    December 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Shari, NY

    Best wishes to the incoming and out going presidents! How about making the reporters remove their shoes before the "pow wow"?

    December 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. JV

    Bush got no such treatment from the outgoing Clintons.

    December 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. PL

    Wow I wonder what this is about, and why isn't Gov. Palin going to be there?

    December 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Beverly, NYC

    Bush has no choice than to be cooperative given the mess he's leaving for the next guy.

    December 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Hope is Coming

    May the five can come up with something that will help the economy

    December 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Karl

    Why do I feel the current President is in for a good tongue lashing?

    December 17, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. tired of corporate politics

    I didn't vote for Obama or McCain for that matter, but it is nice to see Obama transitioning into a cooperative appearance at least. This is a good face to show the world, that we change power without violence.

    The campaign period was very polarizing, thanks to the RNC and DNC (including Obama), and it is good to see this change.

    Now if Obama's hate bloggers here can get the message too....

    December 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Ravi in MO

    This was a wonderful idea. President Bush and the three former presidents may help give Obama more insight from a new angle, to help him in starting out his term.

    This meeting might help demonstrate that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts".

    December 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Sarah Palin

    I'll read about it in all the newspapers!

    December 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. shaz

    I can't help but notice that one looks smart and the other well, seems confused as to what is Pres-elect Obama saying! HuH!

    December 17, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    Well it appears the PE is making every effort to be inclusive of all involved and that includes past Presidents. It has the makings for a great start and one hell of a photo op.

    December 17, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Taniel

    The Illinois Senate seat is still as messed up, however. Today Blagojevich won a battle as the state Supreme Court refused to rule that he was unfit for office, so he keeps appointment powers.

    December 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA - FINALLY!!!

    talk about a President Obama that is always thinking outside the box?! – proposing bi-partisanship and strength in the times of our greatest needs!

    It just shows you that Barack Obama is light years away and ahead of how George Dubya thinks; that's why he is well suited to be the president that will lead the United States into greatness in the 21st century!

    a president that will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character!

    yes we can!!!!!

    December 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Marc

    Why is that peanut brained moron Jimmy Carter involved in this? This idiot manages to worm his way into high profile meetings all the time and all he has to offer is a watered down southern accent and a host of failures to his credit. Send him back to Plains, GA and keep him there!

    December 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. The Weatherman

    When Obama takes the office, excuses will not get ther job done. It is imperative for everyone to be on the same page – unlike the usual sort of people that post on this webpage in a juvenile fashion (mainly democrats).

    December 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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