Obama to meet Bush, tour new home
President-elect Barack Obama was on Monday to meet with the man whose role he will fill in January, as he and wife Michelle come to the White House for talks with President George W Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, dpa reported.
Bush was a much-reviled figure on the campaign trail, as Obama attacked the unpopular president's handling of the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while accusing Republican rival John McCain of seeking to continue those policies.
But despite any hard feelings generated by months of political attacks, Bush was to welcome the Obamas and discuss the business of governing with his successor in the traditional meeting that is part of the peaceful handover of power between all US presidents.
"We take great pride in the way we deal with transfer of power from one government to the next. And so I expect it to be a very respectful meeting," White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters on Friday. "They'll have a wonderful conversation, and like I said, we're all looking forward to it."
The Bushes will meet the Obamas outside the White House at 2 pm (1900 GMT) and the visit will include a tour of the historic mansion and talks between Bush and Obama in the Oval Office.
"We are gratified by the invitation. I'm sure that, in addition to taking a tour of the White House, there's going to be a substantive conversation between myself and the president," Obama said at a press conference on Friday.
"I'm going to go in there with a spirit of bipartisanship and a sense that both the president and various leaders in Congress all recognize the severity of the situation right now and want to get stuff done," he added.
Despite their political differences, Bush has praised Obama for his historic election victory and pledged to do everything to make for a smooth transition. Obama for his part has stressed that while he is eager to get to work that Bush remains the country's leader until January 20.