President-elect Obama, President Bush, and the three living former presidents posed briefly for pictures before meeting privately at the White House Wednesday. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama, President Bush and all of the surviving past presidents got together Wednesday for a historic meeting at the White House.
"One message that I have, and I think we all share, is that we want you to succeed. Whether we're Democrat or Republican, we care deeply about this country," Bush told Obama before lunch with the former presidents.
Bush and Obama were joined by Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Watch: 'We want you to succeed,' Pres. Bush tells Obama
Obama thanked the president for hosting them and said he was grateful for the opportunity to get "advice, good counsel and fellowship" from the group.
Obama's press secretary said the presidents had a "very constructive conversation" and Obama appreciated "the spirit of bipartisanship they showed" in wishing him success.
"The president and the former presidents had helpful advice on managing the office, as well as thoughts on the critical issues facing the country right now. The president-elect is anxious to stay in touch with all of them in the coming years," Robert Gibbs said.
Presidential historian Doug Brinkley said it's "very smart politics for Obama to keep a channel open" with the former presidents.
TCM January 7th, 2009 5:56 pm ET
I have nothing but hatte in my heart. I can't stand the thought of Obama becoming president so I have to spend my day slinging venom whenever I can.
My father was a Band of Brothers. No, really he was. I have led men in battle, too. No, really I have!!!
Your father was not a Band on Brothers. He was in a band of brothers who were also drunks. What a Idiot, po little thang.
dumas mcgee January 7th, 2009 5:48 pm ET
you'd think even Proud American would have something nice to say about unity
nope. looks like the high-chair bound P.A. must continue to fling his poo to seek attention
I do have something to say. "Democrats around the country are United and excited about change that's going to sweep this country starting Jan 20. Dumas don't be a Idiot all of your life.
their all the same people they are following thie agenda thats all...... obama is change of face thats all
Please pray for TCM, he spent his entire life thinking his Dad was a band of brothers and it turns out he Dad was in a band with drunks. I'm sure that has to be a horrible feeling for the little Idiot, and would explain why he's so bitter and hateful.
TCM: Nice try but we know your a Democratic plant!!
TCM@ your the reason Americans want to keep abortions legal in this country. Your Mom is so selfish.
Who are those guys in the photo with President Elect Barack Obama?
Proud American: Do you have schizophrenia or are you bipolar? You trash President forever then you post that this is a" Great picture of FIVE great men"!! Then continue to trash him in the rest of your posts! I am patient with stupidity but not with those that are PROUD of it as you are! Nothing will divide this nation more than ignorance,and nothing can bring us together more than an educated population of which YOU are not!!
Let's just hope that this time Mr. "wet behind the ears" realizes that it is not polite to have loose lips after such a meeting and refrain from blabbing stuff to his staff that can't keep their mouths shut either. It is so unpresidential.
The most serious office in the land and Americans get stuck with a baby running the crib...oh why didn't Hillary or McCain or some other more qualified person get the job...
TCM you must be refering to yourself when you say "pathetic". Do you really think anyone believes anything you say. Must be the mushrooms you keep smoking screwing up your brain.
John what a racist remark I wonder what your grandfather and greatgrand-father thinks of you when what they might not be telling you that during slavery because of them sleeping around with the female slaves you also could very well be a minority through blood...Haha how do you like that one idiot think before you speak