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Bush Promises Smooth White House Transition


U.S. President George Bush and President-elect Barack Obama will meet at the White House on Monday. As VOA's Paula Wolfson reports, Mr. Bush says they will discuss the major issues facing the nation.

Two days after the election, President Bush gathered his staff on the South Lawn of the White House and gave them instructions for the rest of his term in office.

He said a smooth transition is his top priority.

"This seamless transfer of authority is one of the hallmarks of a true democracy," he said.

But Mr. Bush also made clear that they have plenty of other work to do besides preparing for the handover to the Obama administration.

"We face economic challenges that will not pause to let a new president settle in," he said. "This will also be America's first wartime presidential transition in four decades. We're in a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us. And they would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people."

President Bush noted that key members of Senator Obama's team are already being briefed on critical issues and that an effort is underway to provide them with all of the information they need. He said that throughout the executive branch of government, Bush administration officials will be working with the replacements chosen by the president-elect.

"Taken together, these measures represent an unprecedented effort to ensure that the executive branch is prepared to fulfill its responsibilities at all times," President Bush said.

Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, are coming to the White House on Monday. President Bush will meet with the president-elect, while Mrs. Obama gets a look at the historic mansion that will become their new home on January 20.

Meanwhile, intelligence community officials have begun another presidential rite of passage. They have started to provide Mr. Obama with daily briefings on the global situation - the kind of briefings provided only to the president of the United States.

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