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. I'm Not Missing The Old Mule & Winky Half-baked Alaska

    Hmmm ... And why hasn't Bush been this cooperative in the last eight years?

    December 17, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. OB

    This sounds epic

    December 17, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Ernie in LA

    Obama needs all the training he can get. He will steal all of the good ideas and call them his.

    December 17, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. Look ALIVE!

    I think the American people (along with the rest of the world) are going to see alot of historical moments during the next 4 to 8 years. Welcome to the 21st century! I'm glad we are able to have a President in waiting that is going to be awesome!

    December 17, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. Sye the Pychic

    The Bushies are digging the hole so deep for Obama just so they can say we told you so come 2012, when they pull another Bushie out of their hat,our dear friend Jeb.This was all planned.

    December 17, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    I simply can not believe that no matter what President-Elect Obama does, a certain segment will find a gloom and doom scenario.

    This collection of Presidents will not let personal disagreements taint an historic meeting. This is a very exclusive "club" and their unique experiences will be shared Only the foolish think that Obama will not pick up some insight ... or that this gathering is a terrible idea.

    This sets the stage for people to start behaving as Americans and not like the RNC who has not recognized that the election is over.

    December 17, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. a voting republican

    gary
    I think it has less to do with agreeing with bushes idiotic policies and more to find out what they ARE since most of them were done behind closed doors! I believe this is the change Obama spoke about, getting input from ANYONE who has knowledge of a situation and then taking the best and putting it into action. This is why I crossed party lines and it shows that, so far, not only am I right, I was correct! Now if only we can get the hate mongers and the hype spewers (Limbaugh etc) to stop for a minute and actually discuss the things going on instead of vilifying those who do not agree with thier, limited, point of view we would have a chance of moving forward as a nation united instead of parties divided!

    December 17, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    All president's should throw their shoes at Bush!!!

    December 17, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. clifford

    Obama is scared!!

    December 17, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. David

    Yes, Obama is being presidential: aligning himself photographically with four other people who can help establish his appearance and authority as Chief Executive. Nothing wrong with this – it's politics – however, we shouldn't expect much substantive dialogue out of it.

    Inviting all former presidents to the White House isn't historic, just rare. But it will help keep the lines of communication open – and late-night conversations between the Oval and the former presidents' homes is what will yield some good advice for Obama.

    December 17, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  11. MARY HARRISON

    CAN YOU PLEASE TELL BARACK THAT I LOVE HIM TO DEATH, BUT PLEASE DO NOT DYE HIS HAIR AGAIN. IT LOOKS FAKE HE LOOKS TOO YOUNG AND I LOVE HIS GRAY HAIR!!!! THIS IS IMPORTANT!

    December 17, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. LIKIYE

    Oh Yes! This move by President-elect Barack Obama to bring together former presidents together is a move towards the right direction to bring the ailing American Nation together. This Great Nation must come together with its past and presence. This is a wise initiative that is bipartisan. May God Himself bless Obama and the work in his hands afterall the American Nation trusts in God!

    December 17, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Marie,San Diego

    The new prez continues to amaze me.

    December 17, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. Remy

    Obama shows his UNIFYING AMERICA PLAN. This kind of approach to buildup American name again overseas. Jimmy Carter is there to advise Obama on FOREIGN POLITICS. I always happy to see Carter anywhere because he is a real HUMAN to understand the worth of PEACE. He is not a JINGOIST but a practical person.

    Bush and his cow boys destroyed USA but Carter and his team try to buildup the pride of USA Obama will listen to Carter to know the heart beat of the nation as well as the world!

    December 17, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. Scott

    "Prominent liberal groups and gay rights proponents criticized President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday for choosing evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration next month."

    Okay...so who did they wanted to deliver the invocation, Rev. Wright or Louis Farrakhan?

    December 17, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Frank, the only one who mentioned race on this blog was you. When are you guys going to accept that anyone who criticizes Obama isn't a racist?

    Scott, you praise Obama for not demonizing Republicans and then do exactly that. Hey, your picture is in the dictionary under 'hypocrasy'.

    Would all you Bush-bashers rather that Bush were uncooperative? If so, please check your American citizenship at the door. America and Obama needs all the help they can get.

    December 17, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. Randy - Denver

    Scott Zimmerle good post I see you are actually thinking, nice to see thought for a change on these post instead of flames. thank You

    dan just reverse what I said to Scott for your post. A suggestion: maybe if you stopped spouting nonsense and dropped your prejudice against anyone who doesn't subscribe to your philosophies you might see that only by supporting each other, even in disagreement, can we grow as a country.

    gary and others who say that his "inexperiance and fear made him call this meeting" really need to try and look at things through a slightly different perspective. Maybe oyu can see that he is trying to be INCLUSIVE, get input from all sides, and therefore is doing what he can to ensure he hits the ground running and that the country begins the recovery process as soon as possible. he is NOt a God, and no one expects him to wave a majic wand and solve all the problems but he is a man who is trying to ensure he makes the best moves for this country and try to bring out the best in each of us, to get us to lookbeyound party, race, sex whatever to see America for what it can be.

    December 17, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  18. Scott

    Prominent liberal groups and gay rights proponents criticized President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday for choosing evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration next month."

    Okay...so who did they wanted to deliver the invocation, Rev. Wright or Louis Farrakhan?

    December 17, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  19. John

    I disagree with some of Bush's policys, and I voted for Obama. That being said, I disagree with anyone who would think it was good to have some reporter throw a shoe at our president. Of all the American Troops that died over there for those people and they throw a shoe at our president. I bet they would have never done that with their previous leader(who I'm sure they are glad to be rid of)! The one we got rid of for them, because they couldn't do it.

    December 17, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. gordo

    Well I'm all for this meeting, but the only advice that President Obama is going to get from Bush and Bush Sr. is "what not to do" advice. Clinton will still be mad at Obama for not letting him have his 3rd term and he will also be mad because Obama will steal Clinton's title of "best president in recent memory".

    December 17, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Axl

    This is a photo op, but a very, very important photo op for the nation at such difficult times. The symbolism of seeing 5 members of that exclusive club together is very powerful because it reminds us that we're all in this together.

    December 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. Viv, Utah

    I see by most of these comments that the left has finally got religion.

    December 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Breaking News

    Which of these two men should already be in prison for war crimes?

    December 17, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. DP

    To Texas Teacher – I am suprised by your comment. With your past comments, you blast anything and everything Republican no matter how good the idea might be. Yet, you actually called Lincoln a greate president. Guess what? He was a Republican. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    December 17, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  25. Alonein Ansonia

    Some of you nut jobs just don't get it! (Although I will admit, that was funny Anonymous).

    This man is actually living out what he said. He said that he did not care where he got input from, but that he would get it for the benefit of the country. Not for his legacy, not for his ego, not for his own glorification, but for this great country of ours.

    You have to respect that, unless you are of the belief that he has to do it all by his lonesome to get some kind of recognition. I don't think he wants to steal ideas, he wants to put good ideas into practice. I don't think he wants to schmooze, he wants to learn about the victories and defeats of those who came before him.

    I began as a McCain supporter, but this guy is IMPRESSIVE. Black, white, green, yellow, fuchsia, it does not matter what is the color of his skin if he is able to right this ship. Let's agree on that......

    December 17, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
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