While meeting with a group of immigrants to American on the night of Barack Obama’s election last Tuesday, several new Americans said they could never have voted in the nation of their birth — or their vote was just for show and not counted by the ruling powers. Others said they had never witnessed a peaceful transition of political power…
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page A01
Faced with one of the most important transfers of presidential power in American history — amid wars on two fronts, the looming threat of terrorism at home and a full-blown economic crisis — the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama team have responded with exceptional cooperation on those issues, aides and outside experts say.
Serious decisions, and potentially divisive ones, still remain for the politically and ideologically divided camps, such as access to classified information and, in particular, battles over the regulations and executive orders that will define the policy of the two administrations.
But the days since Tuesday’s election have shown a striking level of comity following the rancor of the campaign, enhanced by President Bush‘s months-long efforts to pave the way for a smooth transition and President-elect Barack Obama‘s preelection determination to move quickly.
“Ensuring that this transition is seamless is a top priority for the rest of my time in office,” Bush said in his weekly radio address yesterday. “My administration will work hard to ensure that the next president and his team can hit the ground running.”
Bush has created a transition coordinating council, populated by experts from inside and outside the administration, and has streamlined the process for obtaining security clearances for key transition officials. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell flew to Chicago on Thursday to deliver Obama his first daily intelligence briefing.
By Jim Rutenberg
The New York Times
There is a great tradition of paint-peeling political hyperbole during presidential campaign years. And there is an equally great tradition of backing off from it all afterward, though with varying degrees of deftness.
But given the intensity of some of the charges that have been made in the past few months, and the historic nature of Mr. Obama’s election, the exercise this year has been particularly whiplash-inducing, with its extreme before-and-after contrasts.
The shift in tone follows the magnanimous concession speech from Mr. McCain, of Arizona, who referred to Mr. Obama’s victory Tuesday night as “a historic election” and hailed the “special pride” it held for African-Americans. That led the vice president-elect, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., to get into the act. During the campaign, Mr. Biden said he no longer recognized Mr. McCain, an old friend. Now, he says, “We’re still friends.” President Bush, in turn, also hailed Mr. Obama’s victory, saying his arrival at the White House would be “a stirring sight.”