Obama meets Bush at White House

Obama gets his first look at the Oval Office
WASHINGTON We're pretty much in the dark about exactly what happened in that historic meeting Monday between President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama. We're told they were cordial, that the meeting was productive, and that's about all.

So, despite the tough presidential campaign, the deteriorating economy and the fact that these two families are miles apart politically, this appears to have been a textbook example of how presidential transitions are supposed to go.

The biggest symbolic day of this historic transition ended Monday night when a charter jet delivered President-elect Barack Obama back to Chicago where 12 hours earlier he delivered his two daughters to their private school in Hyde Park.

In between, construction crews built portable bleachers in front of the White House for the inaugural procession down Pennsylvania Avenue in January, crowds gathered outside of the White House gate for a glimpse of history-in-the-making -- and along the route of the Obama motorcade up to the White House -- and then the moment when the incoming and outgoing first families met for the first time, looking relatively comfortable, but very serious, as they stroll down the colonnade for a unity meeting in the Oval Office where they discussed the deteriorating economy and threats to national security after a bitter presidential campaign marked by Obama's relentless attacks on the Bush administration's eight-year history.

"Of course they have differences on policy, but they both love their country equally, and the love of country they're going to put first and work together so they have everything they need going forward," said Dana Perino, White House press secretary.

The presidential wives are more concerned about the logistics of life in a fishbowl called the White House, where kids care a lot more about a piece of candy than a piece of history.

"Mrs. Bush took Mrs. Obama upstairs to the residence to see where the room where the two little girls will live," said Anita McBride, chief of staff to the first lady.

For the crowds outside the white house, even the casual observers liked the vibe of this transition.

"Seems like a smooth transition so far. I'm cautiously optimistic," said Robert Tressler, a Maryland resident who did not vote for Obama.

For the record, Mr. And Mrs. Obama, Barack and Michelle, actually flew separately to and from Washington Monday for a very simple reason: Michelle had a different agenda, she was checking out private schools for the girls to attend sometime in January. No decision yet on where they'll end up. She checked on a couple Monday. There may be a few more to go.

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