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Bush, Obama Hold White House Meeting

President-elect Obama (left) waves as President Bush welcomes him to the White House on Monday.
Mandel Ngan
/
AFP/Getty Images
President-elect Obama (left) waves as President Bush welcomes him to the White House on Monday.
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush greet President-elect Obama and his wife, Michelle, at the South Portico of the White House.
Mandel Ngan
/
AFP/Getty Images
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush greet President-elect Obama and his wife, Michelle, at the South Portico of the White House.

President-elect Obama and President Bush held their first face-to-face meeting Monday, an Oval Office session that comes during a historic shifting of power to a new administration.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrived at the South Portico 11 minutes early with President Bush and first lady Laura Bush waiting for them. Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama enjoyed a warm greeting, while the president and his successor exchanged smiles and a handshake.

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Taking a bit of prerogative, the president-elect put his left hand on Bush's back as the two couples entered the Diplomatic Reception Room.

Bush and Obama strolled along the Colonnade and waved for the cameras while their wives began a meeting of their own. The president and the president-elect then headed into the Oval Office to talk about the future of the country, with topics most likely including the financial crisis and the war in Iraq.

It was the president-elect's first visit to the White House since his landslide election victory — and his first visit ever to the Oval Office.

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.

Mrs. Bush was to give Mrs. Obama a tour of the first family's living quarters, including the bedrooms used by children of past presidents. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said the two women were expected to talk about living in one of the world's most famous buildings, from family life to the help provided by executive staff.

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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."

From the Associated Press

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