November 17th, 2008
06:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama team meets with Rice, Defense officials

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Condoleezza Rice met with members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team Monday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team met with key officials in the Defense and State Departments Monday, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice met with Tom Donilon and Wendy Sherman, Obama's State Department transition team leaders, and promised a smooth hand-over, according to State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood.

In the half hour meeting, held at Rice's request, Rice "expressed her desire to work closely with the team on a smooth and professional transition," Wood said.

Across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia, Obama's Defense Department transition team leaders, John White and Michele Flournoy, made office calls to four senior officials and requested more meetings for later this week, senior Pentagon officials said.

White and Flournoy met with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel David Chu, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition John Young and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James Clapper, according to senior Pentagon officials.

Flournoy also met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff's transition head, Kenneth F. McKenzie, while 17 members of the Obama transition staff came into the Pentagon Monday to fill out paperwork and get access badges, according to Pentagon officials.

On Friday, White and Flournoy met with Defense Secretary Robert Gates' transition head, Robert Rangel. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes, according to Pentagon officials.

Both Friday and Monday's meetings have been described by Pentagon officials as courtesy calls prior to the coming work between the offices.

Sherman and Donilon also first arrived at the State Department transition offices on Friday and met with the three top State Department officials working on the transition.

State Department officials said that two other transition team members also arrived Monday. Gayle Smith, a former Clinton official on Africa and Aaron Williams, a former U.S. Agency for International Development official who is currently a development executive, will be handling the transition for USAID.

More than a dozen more Obama transition officials are expected to arrive at the State Department in the coming days, the officials said.

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Barack is so smooth.

    November 17, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. Erika, KS

    Memo to Ms. Rice: You work for George W Bush. You worked for his father. You stood before Congress and publicly stated that Bin Laden was not a threat. You told us that Iraq possessed WMD's. YOU, Ms. Rice are part of the problem.

    While there is nothing wrong with working with others with whom you disagree, but wolves should not try to disguise themselves as sheep, and expect the public or president-elect to believe it.

    Your time is up lady. Go away. We now have to try to re-build from the destruction that you and the entire Bush administration have created.

    November 17, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. A Woman In California For Obama

    Why not? Afterall, Ms. Rice most certainly voted for Obama.

    November 17, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Mo money

    I LOVE CONDI RICE....I heard she was single ; )

    November 17, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Get over yourselves

    I just wonder what would have happened if McCain had picked Ms. Rice as his running mate. What would all the racists done? Admit voted for McCain/Palin because it was an all-white ticket. This WHITE, Christian, former Republican, public school teacher RAN to vote early for "THAT ONE."

    November 17, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. KJL

    Why attack Secretary Rice? She did her job well, in a difficult administration.

    November 17, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. maynard hopkins wi

    Rice should be the S.O.S.

    November 17, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Jeff Brown

    Name one positive thing that this woman accomplished in her 8 years in the Bush cabinet...ONE!

    November 17, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. David

    She mostlikely did vote for Obama. She is one of the few Bush staff with a brain still around.

    November 17, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. w.l. jones

    The boss is always right whether one like it or not. Said enogh.

    November 17, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Bryan

    Bye Rice, Hello Hillary

    November 17, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Janice Illinois

    Amen Erica C Rice can't wait to see you and George go. If we are ever lucky enough to see him prosecuted I hope you get to go there with him too. No honor among thieves.

    November 17, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. Andy

    I can only imagine that meeting with anyone in the current administration must be solely a formality – what on earth can Obama et. al. learn from this complete failure to the American people? Nothing.

    November 17, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. Kathy

    BhusseinO is such a liar. He means no good to this country.

    November 17, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Allan

    After the door closed, high fives all around.

    You just know she followed all sentient Republicans and voted Obama.

    November 17, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. s

    I wonder if she voted for Obama ... I know Bush did.

    November 17, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    To Ms. Rice and all the Bushies: thanks for a smooth transition, of course, this is expected of you. Not great thing.

    However, Ms. Rice, you are part of the problem and part of the Bush/Cheney legacy:

    OVER $10 TRILLION in National debt




    November 17, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Nick Cordisco

    although I admire your initiaitive to schedule a meeting with the Obama transition team. I think providing you 30 minutes was offering you too much of their time.

    November 17, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  19. Lisa

    So if they're vetting Bill Clinton, does that mean that Hillary already has the job? They're just finalizing it with a background check?

    November 17, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. There IS hope for the future>>>

    I like Ms. Rice, but, not in the position she's in. She has not done much for the middle east...

    November 17, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. voter

    we don't need Condi to help us with the transition. After the mess she made, we need a new direction. Thanks, but no thanks.

    November 17, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. NC=Blue in 2008

    Condi is so funny - I KNOW she voted for Obama. Every time she talks about him, she gets all giddy!!!!

    November 17, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  23. The Legacy of Obama -

    America’s Reputation Restored …

    Bush’s “My Way or the Highway … Wanted Dead or Alive … We’re Fighting a Crusade” tone will be replaced by a collaborative, co-operative approach to interfacing with the world. President Obama will be a strong and decisive when implementing policy to protect US interests and will be willing to act alone. However, if he does, the world will respect him for it because he will have given others as much consideration as possible first.

    November 17, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  24. Independent

    No one can deny that Condi is one of the smartest people on the planet. Dr. Rice actually started her career in the State Dept. under President Carter. So you can't just say she's a conservative. And she is respected around the world. Just look what the rest of the world thinks of her. They hate Bush but they love Condi. I think Obama is smart enough to recognize talent and intelligence when he sees it. I bet he'll have a place for her just like he does for Colin Powell.

    Obama will be a great President that represents the WHOLE country. Not just the idiots on the liberal lunatic fringe like Erika, KS.

    As an Independent supporter of Barrack Obama I hope he makes good use of Dr. Rice and her experience.

    November 17, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  25. sunny123

    Give the gal a break. She had to toe the line with Shrub/Cheney and still be able to look in the mirror. She has done a valiant job. This woman is smart, goodlooking and on top of what is going on. I have no doubt we haven't heard the last of her. At least I hope not. You go, Condi. Good job!

    November 17, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
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