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. george cook

    I think this is an excellent idea so long as it is "give and take" and all participants bring "good ideas" to the table and get our country's priorities right and fully understand the "PEOPLES ISSUES" and gear their primary efforts to that end. Politics aside. It's about time. Having said that – I DOUBT that it will happen.

    December 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama again shows diplomacy and leadership. I am so very proud of Obama.

    December 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. VA Bleek

    OBAMA is a smooth Brother! This just goes to show that we have a totally different type of leadership this time around...HI HATERS!!

    December 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Anti-Socialist

    Democrats take note this is how a republic is suppose to work.

    December 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Minnesotan

    Bush is doing everything he can to try to keep from looking like the WORST PRESIDENT EVER. Too bad he's done such a stellar job of actually being the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

    December 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Texas Teacher

    I believe this says volumes about how PE Obama thinks and works.

    This is something one would never have expected from the Bush Administration. :) Cheney would have been forced to shoot someone in the face had it been suggested! Even now, I would bet money that he is snearing and snickering.

    We have at last a brave intelligent and thoughtful man to run our country... we have not seen such a man since Lincoln, Kennedy, and yes, Carter or Clinton! This marks a milestone for the future. Especially after the horror of the past 8 years. And that is what it has been to me.

    December 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. AB

    This just in:

    Bush to give Obama pointers on how to dodge shoes – news at 11pm.

    December 17, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Robin

    I'm happy the transition is going smoothly, but not surprised. While Bush has not been the best leader, he is not vindictive. I feel he truly cares.

    I do know that his administration will not trash White House offices on the way out, the way the Clinton administration did.

    I did not vote for Obama, but I will support him. I just hope he lives up to all of the hype. He has talked the talk. Now its time to walk the walk.

    December 17, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Scott Zimmerle

    America, look: Obama is charting a new path. He does not demonize Republicans or his opponents on the left, either - even when they try to demonize him. He ran a campaign that he would have been proud of even if he had lost - but he won. His opponent ran a campaign that he should be ashamed of - and he lost. This is a huge difference from the Bush campaigns which were despicable and immoral, and yet successful. The shameful, and yet successful Bush campaigns told Americans and the world that American voters are either stupid or evil (or some mixture of the two). The Obama campaign told Americans and the world that Americans can be trusted to make the right choice. Obama has succeeded in bringing out the best in us, rather than the worst. Please open your minds America. Stop listening to racist, immoral hate-radio, the political equivalent of the Jerry Springer show, all circus and no ideas. Stop watching Fox News, Sean Hannity, and '24'. Stop visiting Drudge and the Politico. Stop buying cynicism and hate. Start thinking and feeling again and start making America what it should have been all along.

    December 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. Linda in Slidell, Louisiana

    It sounds dangerous. I don't think this is a good idea.

    December 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. David

    So I guess the right wing nuts should be saying Obama is palling around with a war criminal now ;-). Where is Rush when you need him?

    I'm also glad the transition is going smoothly so far. With the huge problems we face in the US, getting info from multiple former presidents is a great idea.

    December 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. dan

    Look out come Jan 20 the USA will change to the United Socialist States of America,with this Berkley loving corrupt Chicago poltician is in office.

    December 17, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Kojeh

    This will be one of the very few times W. will not be the centre of attraction and hopefully he can learn how to be a gracious former President like his father has been.
    But he shouldn't kid him self, he MUST be brought up on WAR CRIMES.

    December 17, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Chris

    This is the right message the country needs...

    December 17, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. My Santa Obama

    You are H O T

    December 17, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. ch

    Obama will most likely be a fine president – Bill Clinton was by far the best president of my lifetime and Bush and his son were amongst the worst EVER.

    And Carter was the reason democrats could not win the White House for 15 years.

    December 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. Walter T. Allen

    Excellent ideal!

    December 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    Wonder if he will just serve coffee?

    December 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. sensi johnson

    That's the picture the world need to see. I can only but imagine the historical significance of such a meeting. Good job guys. Way to go!

    December 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. CARMELO HERNANDEZ

    ITS GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY TO SEE ALL ISSUES PUT ASIDE AND MAKE AMERICA GREAT ONE ONCE AGAIN. I COMMEND ALL THE PRESIDENTS FOR THIS EFFORT.

    December 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Paul, Riverside, CA

    Five onetime commanders-in-chief?

    Considering Obama has never been a President, shouldn't it be 4 onetime commanders?

    Just sayin.

    December 17, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Chris

    Dude, give the President a break. True, he's not been our greatest leader, but he is a decent man. His insuring a good transition shows it, unlike his predecessor!

    December 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Juan Grain

    Good, we rise together or we fall together.

    December 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. Lawrence of Sinking Spring

    That would be a good thing for America.

    December 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Gerda Edwards

    From telling the Governors that he needs their help, to creating new advisory positions, to asking that the other Presidents attend the meeting...is he starting to realize that he's a Post Turtle*?

    *A turtle found on top of a fence post that: 1) has no earthly reason to be there, 2) definitely didn't get there by itself, and 3) has no clue what to do now that it's up there.

    December 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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