Accessibility links

Bush Calls World Leaders on Final Day in Office


U.S. President George Bush spent his last full day in office telephoning world leaders, and saying his final good-byes to members of his staff.

It was a day filled with nostalgia for President Bush and the people who have served with him at the White House during his eight years in office.

Mr. Bush placed farewell telephone calls to many world leaders to thank them for their friendship and cooperation. Among them: current and former heads of state and government from Russia, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel and Brazil.

Meanwhile, his top aides finished packing up years of accumulated papers, photographs and memorabilia. In the hallways and deserted offices of the executive mansion they gathered to say good-bye.

Almost all will turn in their White House identification badges by the time they leave work Monday. Only a few will return Tuesday, when Mr. Bush leaves the White House with the president-elect for the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Once they board their motorcade on the north driveway, a fleet of moving vans will pull up on the south side.

Martha Kumar, an expert on presidential transitions, says an army of movers will go to work.

"On the south side, then, there is going to be all the action of doing the move," said Kumar.

White House press secretary Dana Perino says there is no need for a big van to take away the Bush family belongings. Most of their boxes have already been shipped to Texas.

"They did not come with a lot of things; they did not bring a lot of furniture here. So mostly what they have are books, obviously their clothes, and then some of the things that they have picked up along the way on their travels as they have traveled," she said.

All of Mr. Bush's records from his time in office will be leaving the White House as well, with most eventually headed for his presidential library.

Martha Kumar says the Oval Office will be cleared out immediately after he leaves the White House and prepared for its new occupant.

"And then, in a period between noon and four o'clock, in the Oval Office all the furniture will go out of it and then it will be repainted, as will the offices in the West Wing," said Kumar. "And that takes place in a period of about four hours."

By the time Barack Obama and his family return from the Inaugural Parade, the move will be complete. Their belongings will be all unpacked according to instructions left with the staff, and the Obamas will find the world's most famous house has become their home.


XS
SM
MD
LG