January 21st, 2009
12:16 PM ET
10 months ago

Obama begins day with moment of solitude, then business

ALT TEXT

President Obama met with his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the Oval Office Wednesday morning. (Photo Credit: White House photo)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama began his first full day in office with a moment of solitude in the Oval Office, reading a note from his predecessor, before making phone calls to Middle East leaders.

Obama arrived in the Oval Office at 8:35 a.m., according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The president spent 10 minutes alone, reading a note left for him in the desk by outgoing President George W. Bush. The note had been placed in an envelope with a note saying: "To: # 44, From: # 43."

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met with the president 10 minutes later to discuss the daily schedule, Gibbs said.

Obama called Middle East leaders, according to a senior administration official, including King Abdullah of Jordan, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

On Sunday, Israel and Palestinian militants declared a cease-fire after 22 days of fighting in Gaza.

First lady Michelle Obama joined her husband in the Oval Office at 9:10 a.m., shortly before the first couple departed for the National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral.

President Obama's faith "is a central part of his life and he will begin the first full day of his administration with a service of interfaith prayer and reflection," said Presidential Inaugural Committee Communications Director Josh Earnest.

"The National Prayer Service, which will embody the themes of tolerance, unity and understanding, is a worship service for all Americans."

Later in the day, Obama is expected to meet with his economic team and top brass from the Pentagon.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    He was probably trying to regain some of his hearing loss from the millions who were cheering his welcome yesterday.. Just needed a minute or two of piece and quiet.. I'm so proud of him. His openess will be so refreshing after eight years of the hatefulness of the Bushes.

    January 21, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Kirsten

    I love how Gerry in Va. says "the hatefulness of the Bushes". Perhaps he/she never got the memo that everybody(including the liberal media) has said about the Bushes, they're actually some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Just because you disagree wtih them doesn't make them "hateful".

    January 21, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Arkansas Undertaker

    This is truly a great time for America and the World!!!!

    I am so proud of the new Obama Administration for taking all the right steps.

    January 21, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. AndyL

    @ Gerry in Va for Obama.

    Obama needed a minute or two of PEACE and quiet, not PIECE and quiet. I know they sound the same, but they do not mean the same. Maybe you should watch Sesame Street instead of CNN. You people who Bush stupid and can't spell just make me laugh.

    January 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. NOVA

    Man, the Oval Office looks pretty empty! :)

    January 21, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. WTH...

    Kirsten-
    Maybe you didn't get the memo that torture, demonizing gay folks, and trashing habeas corpus are all actually hateful things to do. I, for one, have met WAY nicer people than that.
    Hopefully Obama's driving skills can save us from going off the cliff.

    January 21, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Matt

    "See Mr. President, this is the fist I make when I knock GOP heads together..."

    January 21, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Ash

    Kirsten – Agreed. Bush fouled up, in many ways, but this constant crucifixion of his character is so trendy and stale. He's not a bad guy... Just a guy who wasn't best suited for the presidency. The "hatefulness" and disrespect that has been offered to him and his family is absolutely absurd... And no, I'm not a Republican, and yes, I LOVE Obama.

    January 21, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Zozozozozozozozozo

    this is a great article!!

    January 21, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Greg M

    Gerry tends to forget about the hate, venom, spitefulness, seditious,mocking,derision, intractability and overall effect of uselessness the left had toward getting anything done for the last two years. The lapse of memory is one of the finest attributes of the history rewriting left – it makes their job easier as well as greases their arguments when talking to each other.

    January 21, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |