Obama makes historic White House visit

Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:30pm EST
 

By Matt Spetalnick and Deborah Charles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama visited the White House on Monday for his first post-election meeting with President George W. Bush, a strikingly symbolic moment in the transition of power.

The president and first lady Laura Bush greeted the newly elected president and his wife, Michelle, with smiles and handshakes, even as Obama's advisers reviewed some of Bush's executive orders with an eye to reversing them after he is sworn in on January 20.

The two men met privately in the Oval Office for over an hour in talks thought to have encompassed the global financial crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other daunting challenges the Republican president will bequeath to his Democratic successor.

It was their first face-to-face encounter following Obama's resounding victory over Republican John McCain in Tuesday's election, which will make him the United States' first black president.

Obama, 47, had repeatedly attacked Bush's "failed policies" on the campaign trail, and the Illinois senator swept to power on a theme of change -- specifically, change from the unpopular president's approach to economics and foreign affairs.

Obama's aides say after taking office he will likely move quickly to roll back Bush's executive orders that limit stem cell research and expand oil and gas drilling in some areas.

There was no outward sign of tension, however, when the Obamas stepped from their limousine at the south portico of the White House. Earlier, they had been cheered by crowds of onlookers as their motorcade sped through the capital.

"Good morning," Laura Bush chirped, though it was well past noon.   Continued...

 
<p>President George W. Bush walks with President-elect Barack Obama at the White House in Washington November 10, 2008. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque</p>