December 17th, 2008
07:36 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama, Bush planning to meet again - with a twist

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. New Yorker

    Of course it's been "unbelievably cooperative"; Bush is a gentleman and true patriot. he will continue to do whatever is best for this country.

    December 17, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  2. steve for positive change


    December 17, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. yasmine

    good job, O...a very diplomatic move

    December 17, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. Angel

    Way to go Barack

    December 17, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. scott

    americans seem to be at their best...when things are at their worst...
    i'm waiting to witness ANYthing constructive coming out of american GOVT....when things are at their worst...

    thx 4 all the good times, the get the H*LL out of town..


    December 17, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. Grant in Canada

    Maybe its just me, but as a foreigner, a close neighbour but a foreigner nonetheless, I see this meetng totally different than most Americans posting here. I don't think this is intented so much for American domestic consumption, as it is for world consumption. To me, it shows America's solidarity and common purpose to the whole world. A pride builder for Americans and a lesson in democracy world-wide.

    December 17, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. madnesscontinues

    Flex, Warren's "sexless flock"? – are you kidding? isn't that the pot calling the kettle black – as for prop 8, I heard the Netherlands is nice this time of year...

    December 17, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. Jessica Grimes From Dallas

    ya know.... I for one am glad to see the President and Obama getting along so well. Id love to chat with Obama now and see how he feels about President Bush. Id be willing to bet Obama see's things differently on this side of the election.

    Prolly got a big wake up call once he starting being briefed daily on national security...

    December 17, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. RickMG

    If I were President Bush, I'd refuse to be anywhere near Carter as he's said and done things publicly that a former President should never say. And to think he used to be one of the former Presidents I admired most for his kindness. He doesn't deserve to stand with President Clinton, President-elect Obama or both Presidents Bush.

    December 17, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. cake

    teach something to that idiot Obama

    December 17, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  11. Cagey

    I am officially impressed by PE Obama!

    December 17, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  12. Godluvr

    Oh to be a fly on that wall! There is strength in unity!

    December 17, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. Kim, Ohio

    I am so sick of gays and the liberals. I did not realize how much Bit***ing they do. Majority of Americans are in the middle. I voted for a Obama. Give the man a break. He did speak up for gays. What else do you want??? I now be an independent no longer a Democrat. I can deal with civil unions, but marriage needs to be between a man and a woman. Shut up and please quit complaining. Also, please quit comparing black people to gays. Maybe some people but many people cross over. It is a fad. If not why is do some people leave the gay lifestyle. I was born black. Oh yeah that's right you were born gay. Unless I bleach my skin like Michael Jackson, I will remain black. Many kids are turning gay because of the media.

    I am not a bigot, but I am tired of being forced to accept your life style. This is America and we should all be able to live together, but enough is enough! I am starting to hate liberals! If Republicans get rid of the bigots I will definitely cross over. I do not want to hate anyone, but I do want a party with more family values.

    December 17, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  14. Michael

    Dems or Repubs, both parties (including the third parties) all want the SAME thing: A better country. Sure each has a different viewpoint on how to make America better, but we must UNITE and stop our childish behavior in a GLOBAL economic crisis (Dems and Reps. should clean up the old, and fish in the new). Obama's selection of a pastor with an opposition to gay marriage shows that he wants EVERYONE's opinions. Not every Democrat favors gay marriage, not every republican wants it banned. I'm not trying to sound rude but, our economy and the war are much more important. We'll handle the marriage thing later.

    December 17, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  15. Brandon4Hillary

    Should have been Hillary

    December 17, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  16. Jeremy

    DP – You do know that the Republican party of Lincoln basically became today's Democratic party?

    December 17, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  17. Perusing-through


    This is an attempt by President-Elect Obama to build consensus at the highest level of national leadership. It is a smart move.

    Obama don't want to repeat the mistakes of past leaders, so he keeps the previous Presidents close by and query them for opinions on critical issues, and also get their insight in avoiding political landmines. This guy is really sharp.

    December 17, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  18. Loretta

    President Bush is the best, so much better than Obama. Bush is making the transition easier for obama, but Bush is a true gentleman.
    I'm just sorry he is leaving the White House. And I'm sorry obama is coming to the white house.

    December 17, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  19. Tony

    Its hard to understand the job of president if you havnt been president – whatever side of the isle you may live on. Getting that pool of knowledge together in one room (regardless of what you may think about certain participants) is a remarkably good idea. I think they will find they have much more in common by the experience of their office than they will ideological differences.

    I dont know what will come of it, but perhaps Obama just wants to kind of have a meet-n-greet, and perhaps call on these men and their experience in the future. I think its an ace move both politically and practically.

    December 17, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. kenny

    This is leadership... the stuff we need from our government. President-Elect Obama show great understanding of what knowledges and ideas can be part of a decision making process.

    December 17, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. Chris


    It's not "try AND come together...", it's "try TO come together". Either try to do it, or actually do it.

    December 17, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  22. Soccer Nana

    This is a good image for our Country and for the foreign dignitaries who are watching this partiuclar transition closely. We are the "United States of America!" In spite of many differences, our former presidents, sitting president, and president-elect should have a display a cordial relationship.

    December 17, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  23. Tempered

    That's awesome. GObama for a brilliant idea! We need all the help we can get to clean up after W.

    December 17, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  24. He From NT

    Having recently moved into a position of significant leadership myself, my first goal was getting all of the existing leadership (and any former leadership) together so that I could get a better idea of the challenges they faced, who is doing what, how well do they do it, and how things currently work before I step in and start messing with it. I think he is doing the right thing and it has little to do with inexperience. It is actually the most efficient way to learn. The best leaders will surround themselves with people as smart or smarter and more experienced than themselves in the areas they may be weak. Inexperienced leaders step in and try to control everything they do not understand without first getting the lay of the land. I did not vote for Obama, but I am starting to think that so far, he is making wise decisions in his approach. I can only hope it will continue. The future of -our- Country depends on it whether you are Republican or Democrat or Indifferent.

    December 17, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  25. red

    everyday i feel even prouder

    Obama gives me hope!!!!!

    God Bless America again!!!!

    December 17, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
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