Obamas Arrive in D.C. for White House Tour, Talk with President Bush (Video)

November 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

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President-elect Obama and his wife, Michelle, have arrived at the White House for a visit, his first since last week’s landslide election victory.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush were at the North Portico of the White House to greet the Obamas on a sunny fall day with moderate temperatures and colorful — but fading — autumn leaves.
Their arrival had the look of a foreign head-of-state state visit — although there were no fife and drum bands, speeches or official pageantry. The Obamas stepped out of a black limousine and were welcomed by the Bushes and escorted into the Executive Mansion that they’ll call home in a little more than two months.
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WATCH VIDEO HERE
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama’s first visit to the White House since winning the election will feature a photogenic walk along the Colonnade with President Bush.
More details of the mostly private visit by Obama and his wife, Michelle, emerged Monday, just hours before they were arrive for a visit and tour of the Executive Mansion. The visit is certain to give the president-elect his first feel for the place where momentous decisions will soon fall to him.
Bush invited Obama for the private talk, a rite of passage between presidents and successors that extends for decades.
The moment is sure to be steeped in history, part of a symbolic changing of the guard to Democratic leadership and the country’s first black president. But it will be substantive as well, as Bush and Obama are expected to review the nation’s enormous economic downturn and the war in Iraq.
Obama and Bush will be the only ones in the Oval Office when they meet.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said Monday that she could not offer a detailed preview.
“It’s just very private,” she told reporters at the daily White House news briefing. “And I’m sure that this won’t be the only time that they speak.”
Obama and his wife, Michelle, are expected to arrive at the South Portico at 2 p.m. EST Monday, to be greeted by the president and first lady Laura Bush. They will head into the Diplomatic Reception Room where the Obamas will meet the chief usher of the White House, Perino said.
In a bit of pageantry for the cameras, the president and president-elect are to then walk along the Colonnade and into the Oval Office. The nice pictures, though, might be all people can expect; Bush and Obama are not scheduled to make any public statements during their time together.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Bush will give Mrs. Obama a tour of the first family’s living quarters, including the bedrooms used by children of past presidents. Perino said the two women are expected to talk about living in one of the world’s most famous building, from family life to the help provided by executive staff.
The Obamas have two daughters: Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7. Obama started his day in Chicago, dropping the two girls at school, each with a kiss, and then going to a gym for a workout.
Ahead of the meeting, Obama told reporters last week that he was headed to the White House meeting with “a spirit of bipartisanship.”
Obama won the presidency in an electoral landslide on Tuesday. He ran a campaign in which he relentlessly linked Republican opponent John McCain to Bush and presented his ideas as a fresh alternative to what he called Bush’s failed policies.
Yet the tone changed almost immediately after Obama’s win.
Bush, who had endorsed McCain, lauded Obama’s victory as a “triumph of the American story.” He warmly invited the Obama family to the White House.
Obama, in turn, thanked Bush for being gracious. The president-elect has made clear to the people of the United States and those watching around the world that there is only one president for now, and that’s Bush. Obama is in the transition to power but does not assume the presidency until Jan. 20.
Josh Bolten, Bush’s chief of staff, said Bush and Obama will likely each have a list of issues to go down.
“I know the president will want to convey to President-elect Obama his sense of how to deal with some of the most important issues of the day,” said Bolten, interviewed on C-SPAN by reporters from The Associated Press and The Washington Post. “But exactly how he does that, I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody will know.”
Unlike the incoming president, Bush knew his way around the Oval Office by the time he was elected in 2000 — his father had been president. Still, like many before them, President Clinton and President-elect Bush had their own private meeting, keeping up a tradition that temporarily puts the presidency above politics.
Obama has been to the White House before, including an emergency leadership session to deal with the financial crisis in September.
But an Obama spokeswoman said the president-elect has never been in the Oval Office.
Source: AP
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