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. Ken

    I only hope the other 4 can duck quickly enough when W gets another shoe thrown at him during the photo op.

    December 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Juli

    See, this is proof that Bush isn't quite the bozo some people have made him out to be. He realizes the state of this nation in a way none of us will ever be able to comprehend. I didn't vote for him either time, but come on. The man and the office deserve more respect than this nation has given them.

    December 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. President Obama

    Obama's idea, and a good one I might add. Get ready folks...this is going to be the best we have seen and experienced in years.....

    December 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Don

    Nah for real...throw a shoe.

    December 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. rich

    Well..what can I say other than Obama is putting the best interest of the country ahead in doing this. With all of them putting their heads together, including that one who shares are lion share for the mess we are currently in, it can't hurt. America has to be turned around, and I'm confident under Barack's leadership it will. He is making all the right move by reaching out to the brightest and the best.

    December 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. sam

    Barrack:
    Please watch out for this people, keep your ears and eye's open I know you smart, we can depend on you.
    God bless

    December 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. cph9680

    That would be interesting. Hopefully it produces something useful for the country.

    December 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Gary

    Now that Obama is starting to fully understand what he is faced with as president, he now realizes how correct all of Bush's policies have been and needs to ask Bush for guidance.

    December 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Kelly

    This is how government is suppose to work. It is not about your side against my side, it is about coming together for the greater good and coming up with a workable plan.

    December 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Frank

    Obama is a smart man. Keep your friends close and your ememies closer. America is wise to have elected him President. And all the people who still cannot accept an African American, there's a bus leaving for Europe, don't miss it. Or maybe you can just take a plane now.

    December 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. they should form a regular meeting

    this can be helpful for a president to have ideas and experience like this

    December 17, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. ran

    Obama really is a community organizer. People we may just make it after all.

    December 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Milhouse van Houten

    Would somebody please tell me what could be accomplished by having the three former Presidents present during this meeting.Sure
    the optics appear to portray a gathering of minds getting together to
    tackle the various problems of a smooth transition,but I'm more inclined to think that it will be a knee-slapping session of stories told
    about each ones time in office.One problem though,somebody will
    have to decipher it all for W.

    December 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. The Oracle

    Lol. This dude is gonna be great if we support him and not try to cut his knees out from under him at every chance...

    December 17, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. eddie

    Good Job Obama...Realizing that in order to run this country the right way takes thought, ideas and opinions from not only both sides of the party but past Historic Presidents as well....

    December 17, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Tarletha

    So happy with the job President Elect Obama is doing. I know there will be bumps in the road along the way, but I trust him to always to what is best for the people. I Trust Him!

    December 17, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. EW

    There will only be 4 one-time commanders in chief there. Obama won't be one until January 20th.

    All the better if Obama gets some knowledge out of it.

    December 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. Matt

    I think I finally figured out what's wrong with Bush: they failed to find the foot in his brain when he was born.

    December 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. JIMMY

    Pres-Elect Obama – I know you are tyring to bring the nation together but please stop telling us all these Republicans love thier country and are as patriotic as the rest of us. The evidence – economic collpase, death, destruction, insecurity abroad and disarray in our military – suggest otherwise. Republicans in Washington DC represent the interests of a narrow and moneyed elite that has shown little interest in life, liberty and the purisuit of happiness for all Americans.

    December 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Obamalamadingdong

    When will this lovefest crash? Does anyone recall how uncooperative the Clintons were during their outbound transition? The "W" keys ripped off all the keyboards, Bill stonewalling and Hillary snubbing Laura? When will the necessary and obvious contrast in character be highlighted?

    December 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Jack

    Its refreshing to know that Bush is treating the Obama transition team with respect by providing access and availability. Too bad Bush's predecessor (Clinton) declined to afford him the same courtesy.

    December 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. wow

    Obama is a really smart guy. No one else did that... but of course, it makes perfect sense. What a good idea.

    December 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. steve for positive change

    W quickly agrees because the more poeple involved the less has to speak. When it's his turn he will say " WHAT DO YOU THINK DADDY?

    December 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Mesa

    Jimmy,

    Hate to tell you, but Economic Collapse came after 2 years of a Dem. Congress.

    December 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. Howard

    Jimmy, whether you love or hate Republicans, nothing can be gained in these times by impugning the patriotism or motives of Republicans. Obama is facing an uphill battle and doesn't need to place any more political boulders in his path than are already there.

    December 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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