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. CanIcallyouJoe

    I really hope Muntadhar al-Zaidi gets invited as a special guest!

    Obama has some pretty big shoes – maybe he can be taught to hit Bush at 4 yards!

    No, but seriously – I'm not sure what your definition of "unbelievably cooperative" is, but I am sure that it's not issuing bill after bill to prevent Obama to undo Bush's destruction. Bush and Cheney belong in prison.

    December 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. True Red, White and Blue!

    All party affiliations aside........This will be a great showing of unity to the american people. I applaud each of the presidents, past, present and future that are coming to the aid of america in these times of dire need. In a time when we need hope, these are the four men we most need to see and hear tell us....."It will be ok".

    God Bless!

    December 17, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Suzi

    A historic meeting - wishing you the best PE Obama.

    I just wish Bush would stop fudging things up before he leaves.

    December 17, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. naqib

    Obama-mama

    He can't help keeping those ears peeled... LOL
    He can hear me typing right now!

    December 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Jere

    Jimmy, politicians in general represent the interests of a narrow and moneyed elite, and the Republicans aren't responsible for everything going wrong, though they've become the group we love to hate nowadays. Obama has the right idea. He should be listening to anyone that has had experience leading our country, which by the way, has got to be the hardest job in the world

    December 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Buckeye

    Will they all be required to leave their shoes at the door?

    December 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. buckeye

    Jimmy Carter doesn't really like Clinton, Clinton doesn't like Obama, and the Bushes don't like Carter, Clinton and Obama...

    would love to be a fly on the wall in that meeting...lol

    December 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. hthompson

    You know, I found Bush's presidency offensive, but I'll be the first to give him a few points for his efforts to cooperate through the transition.

    December 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Amber

    Oh geez... I can only imagine what their poor schedulers will have to go through in order to get all these men together in one place.

    obama-mama: wouldn't it be great if everyone showed up on 1/20/2009 with a shoe in hand to wave buh-bye to Bush?

    December 17, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. Rickymo

    I wish Bush would just go away.

    December 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. KB

    Super Friends Unite!! This should be interesting...

    December 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Baze

    I hope everyone keeps their shoes on

    December 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. John

    Jimmy: Do you honestly, *really* believe that? I'm an independent with friends and family that run the entire political gamut: All the way from the most Liberal Democrats to the most Conservative Republicans, and the bottom line is, they all love their country, and want what's best for their people. Yes, even most of the ones in Washington. The fundamental disagreements are over semantics and methodology. I'm certainly glad that Obama has a more enlightened and inclusive outlook than you do.

    December 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. Cody

    Obama is pragmatic. To some extent, I would like to see him signaling a more liberal administration that he has so far. But at the same time, I think he recognizes that pulling the country together is the most important thing right now. We have got to start talking rather than screaming at each other.

    December 17, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    President-elect Barrack Obama is handling himself like no other! I love his truly "presidential" ways! Surely this country can get back on a decent track with Obama in the lead.

    December 17, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Tyrone Davis

    I think that it would be nice for the two to meet I certainly would like to me President George W. Bush in person. I like bush he reminds me of myself I don't care what knowone say's about me either as for Obama I think he'll do find the country is depending on him to pull us through this economic mess.

    December 17, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Chris

    "The sources said the current President quickly agreed "

    So this idea came from Obama's camp? Reaching across the aisle and listening to other's? That's a CHANGE

    December 17, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Butch Dillon

    This may sound like good news from the transition teams but it signals something much worse. To involve every living president speaks of the desperation our government is having and will have over its attempts to salvage the economy. The January meeting looks more like preparation for the funeral of a nation.

    December 17, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. Carrie

    How fascinating and as it should be. We are Americans first and need to work together on OUR issues. This is one of the changes the American people want and need. Left, Right, Media, whatever. Cut the crap, not interested in sideshows however interesting to the Media. Let's get down to taking care of some very serious issues. We are interested in every Cabinet pick even if the Media is not....

    December 17, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Pete

    I'm glad that it was clarified "three living former presidents". It wouldn't be appropriate to invite any of those who are not living.

    December 17, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Sezi Demirkilic`

    If GW is going to be present, be sure to have everyone take off their shoes before they get to attend the meeting...

    December 17, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. chuck

    HOW CAN A PRESIDENT WITH ZERO CREDITABILITY GIVE ANY DIRECTION. OBAMA WILL TREAT THIS LIKE A COFFEE BREAK.GEORGE BUSH SHOULD CONCENTRATE ON THE WHITE HOUSE DOORS NOT HITTING HIM ON HIS EXIT.

    December 17, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Government-Skeptic

    Not much is going to be agreed upon in that room; all of those men have very different ideologies. And that's not a bad thing, however, that meeting will just be more politial schmoozing. I highly doubt they will talk policies. Also, could this be a very inexperienced President Elect wanting to inform himself? Well, good for him if those are his intentions, however, if he thinks he is going to bring "peace" between these men and their ideologies-FAT CHANCE.

    December 17, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. jeremiah

    ...they should include their living spouses!!!

    December 17, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. Adri

    Sounds like an intervention to me. Maybe a bit late, but it's about time someone knocks some sense into Bush Jr.

    December 17, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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