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. Frank

    This woman and Colin Powel are both as guilty as Bush for 8 years of disasterous strategies and policies! I hope they all crash and burn for destroying our country!!!!

    November 17, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. Ken

    I would hope that Rice would be in support of Hillary Clinton to replace her. Both she and Hillary Clinton are very smart women and can do a great job as the Secretary of State.

    Making sure that there is a smooth transfer of the guard is not too much to ask for.

    I do hope that Rice would tell the transition team that Hillary Clinton would be the right person to replace her.

    November 17, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. Gene

    By the way Repubs... if you're looking for a star in your party.. stop looking at idiots like Sarah Palin and wanna be conservatives like Mitt Romney. You want someone to run who commands respect... Rice is your girl. She may actually have a shot if Obama doesn't do well of winning a presidential election for the republicans.

    November 17, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. Otto

    President Bush to President Obama: Man...You are so smooth, the world loves you!

    I need a huge favor, can you start early? I'd love to get the hell outa here and quick!

    President Obama to President Bush; There can only be one President at a time and even though your times expired; you will remain until January 20th. Get that?

    President Bush, maaaannn...I was hoping you would consider letting me off the hook early but you are tougher than you look! Smirk on face…

    November 17, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Gene

    To Jeff Brown...

    I can name you many things that all fall into one catagory.. Condi Rice had to follow up and cleaned up after W. He makes a fool of himself constantly, and she comes in and makes us look like there's some intelligence in the white house. That in itself is enough to legitimize her.

    What's she supposed to do? She's abroad meeting with world leaders all the time. That's her job. Are you saying she's never done her job?

    November 17, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  6. Dolly,

    like a used car salesman

    November 17, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Griff

    Well Mr, Idiot Obama... What and How far, are you going to get involved in your Own Country: Somalia? Now they have you, between a "Rock & a Hard-Place". This is all they wanted in East Africa, A Black Muslim in the White House.. East Africa on Fire!!! All Because "So called Black African Americans", Don't know the Fist Thing About Africa... They just pretend to, to get Sympathy from the Rest Of the World... When will Black So Called Slaves (Who don't know the first thing about Slavery)..... Stop all this Crap!!!!!!!!
    10,000,s of little Black Children will Die in Africa, Becaus4e of Ignorant "Black American's"............ What are are you going to do Mr Obama... Nini Sasa?????

    November 17, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. Mike, Syracuse NY

    The Bush administration is doing a lot more to ensure a smooth transition than Clinton ever did.

    November 17, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. jarock

    i think condi rice is extremely distinguished ,stateswoman-likeand did her best in a tufff admin..
    i had hoped she vote for barack....i jus think so

    November 17, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. Griff

    You did not like that CNN. You love to Promote that Killer. But you don't like the truth.. That's how Obama was Elected.. Your Version of the Truth!!!! Now you know how/why I get so negative.............

    November 17, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  11. bill for barack

    I'm sure Condi would tell them the truth – if only someone would tell her what the truth is.

    November 17, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  12. Kip D. Fisher

    I think Obama should keep Rice as Sec. State, she is incredibly strong and intelligent, already has the contacts overseas, and could really make a difference in my opinion. Jeff Brown asks that someone name one thing she has done in the last 8 yrs. Well for 4 yrs she was Nat'l Sec. Advisor which simply advises the Prez on Nat'l Seurity issues, since 04 she has worked for Bush as Sec. State and has had to do what he wants her to do, which has hamstrung her as far as dealing with foreign countries, I think she would be much more effective Sec. State in the Obama administration. Just my opinion though

    November 17, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  13. That Other Jerry

    Erika in KS– Condi Rice's "abbreviated" resume is 4 pages long. You would have to take your IQ and add it to that of your five closest relatives to equal hers. Barack Obama should get down on his knees and kiss her shoes until she agrees to stay on as Secretary of State and clean up the mess in Iraq. But unfortunately she's the most intelligent person in Washington, so on January 21st she's going to high-tail it back to Stanford as fast as her legs can carry her. Maybe if Obama is lucky he can figure out what to do with Bill Clinton, so he can get Hillary to replace Condi.

    November 17, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. PL

    I think if Rice could hand over the state dept. today she would and take the next flight out of Washington. I think it's safe to say she wasn't calling the shots over at the state dept.

    November 17, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  15. Reg

    Erika hit it out the park! She allowed torture, therefore live by the sword
    die by the sword!

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste! I guess there is something to be said about "affrimitive action"! It doesn't matter what pig-ment when one is pig-headed!

    A cohort to war crimes!

    November 17, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Dan, San Jose

    We've got a new president and will soon have a new cabinet. What's with all the backward looking snarky comments about stupid Bush, WMD's, etc.? Comments about Bush and anyone else in his administration being "stupid" are just cheap laugh lines to get stupid people to laugh. Do you really think that ANY administration fills it's cabinet and administrative posts with stupid people. No. We just don't agree with them and sometimes the disagreement is visceral and deep but that doesn't make them "stupid".

    Just remember that Obama won the presidency by just over 50% of the popular vote, maybe 52% if you want more precision. Do you want 48% of the country going off on rants about how stupid Obama is three years from now when policies are put in place that are unpopular with 48% of the voters?

    In my view all of you out there that keep making these snarky comments about Bush, Rice, and Cheney being "stupid" are just the 48% that voted against Bush four or eight years ago.

    As for more of this tire old talk of WMD's – where were you when Sadam was using poison gas to kill Kurds and Iranians? So we didn't find any. Get over it! Prior to our invasion of Iraq every news venue available was blaring lurid descriptions of Sadam's atrocities and weapons programs. Do you really want me to belive that the neocons just invented all of this and the media, all the media, swallowed the story hook, line, and sinker? Please.

    Ms. Rice has done her job as well as Albright, Scrowcroft, Eagleburger, or Baker. She would be a fine addition to Obama's administration.

    November 17, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. maurice

    anyone that will put this woman down. think twice she is an ocomplished pianist , can speak 7 laguages has a bachlors degree. and has talked to many leaders around the world. in their language. how many posters on here can say the same. the woman is by far smarter than her boss and very lickley more intelligent than obama is.

    November 17, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. Texas Trail Kitty

    She will cooperate because it is in the best interest of the Republcan party to cooperate. I would hope that although you worked for W you were able to recognize that he was clearly wrong about Iraq, but refused to admit it before we were sent on the fool's errand. Good luck to you Ms. Rice and you may want to change parties.

    November 17, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  19. Drill, Baby, Drill

    I hope the meeting was to measure her office and see just how soon she can vacate it for Hillary. Or is it Bill that Obama is hiring/vetting!? Whew, this gets confusing!

    Palin/Kucinich in '12 !

    November 17, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  20. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    The transition teams are Post Viet Nam democrats so they will pretend they are listening to the Pentagon and State Department as Obama did the Intellegnece reports and then in January come in a push their own left wing agenda as the Clintons did by treating Terrorism as a crime not a war and sell out America to the leftist in the world as Clinton did.

    November 17, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  21. Larry


    Thank you, and ,good job!You have kept us ALL safe after the attack,I hope who ever replaces you,I can say the same thing too.

    November 17, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  22. Patricia

    I would like to have seen her run as Prez. I think she is great

    November 17, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. Desert Storm Vet

    Get over yourselves. I think the question is what would you have done, with 2 blacks to vote for and one being a woman? Wow, just think you could have really made history fisrt black VP and first woman VP. Who cares about the issues, isn't that what is all about let's make history. I heard today that some are saying now that we do not have enough black Senators. When does race stop being an issue? And if it is how many are enough? 13%, 20%? I wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would say. Vote color not character? I wonder if he would try to coerce people by stating the racist dribble you posted.

    November 17, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  24. Texas Teacher

    Condi Rice.... a brain.. this is the woman who ignored the warning from the Clinton administration about terrorist threats and Osama bin Laden! Does NO one remember what happened before 9/11, muchless what happened after?

    I am appalled at people suggesting that Rice should be considered for AnyThing in the Obama administration! Way too close to Geo. W. Bush.... a woman does not Accidently call her boss "her husband"... especially when she is a single woman! Seriously....

    November 17, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  25. Texas Teacher

    Erika, KS..... I agree completely.... had I read the posts first, I would have thanked you very much! 🙂 But I post before I read.... then I read to see what others have said!

    Well, slap my mouth, girl..... you nailed it! *LOL*

    November 17, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
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