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McCain, Obama Vow To Work Together

President-elect Barack Obama meets with former Republican presidential candidate John McCain at Obama's transition offices in Chicago on Monday.
Saul Loeb
AFP/Getty Images
President-elect Barack Obama meets with former Republican presidential candidate John McCain at Obama's transition offices in Chicago on Monday.

President-elect Barack Obama met with Republican Sen. John McCain Monday at the Obama presidential transition offices in downtown Chicago.

The two former rivals in the bitterly contested presidential campaign met to discuss issues on which they could work together once Obama takes office and as McCain returns to the Senate.

When asked at the start of the meeting whether he planned to help the Obama administration, McCain replied, "Obviously."


As reporters and photographers were ushered out of the room, McCain opened his mouth as though he wanted to say more, but then smiled and declined to add any comments.

Shortly after the meeting concluded at about 12:45 p.m. Central Standard Time, Obama and McCain issued the following joint statement:

"At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time. It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform, where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family. We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and protecting our nation's security."

The meeting lasted about 90 minutes and was closed to reporters except for a brief photo opportunity at the start. When asked what he hoped to accomplish during the session, Obama responded, "Just going to have a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country, and also to offer thanks to Sen. McCain for all the outstanding service he's already rendered."

Obama and McCain sat together during the photo opportunity with Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who will serve as Obama's White House chief of staff, and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close friend of McCain's.


Emanuel and Graham arranged the meeting, which took place less than two weeks after the election. The two men worked on legislative matters together and negotiated the ground rules for the presidential debates on behalf of the campaigns.

During the campaign, Obama and McCain clashed often and on many issues, including the war in Iraq and the economy; the attacks sometimes got personal. One of the issues on which they often disagreed was over who would be better suited to usher in a new era of bipartisanship in the nation's capital. The two agreed to meet to begin that era in an election-night phone conversation, when McCain called Obama to concede.

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