Both U.S. President George Bush and his successor, Barack Obama, are
emphasizing the importance of a smooth transition, so Mr. Obama can
tackle the country's economic problems as soon as he takes office on
January 20. VOA's Kent Klein reports from Washington.
Obama says his administration will start working to restore the U.S.
economy from his first day in office. In the weekly Democratic Party
radio address Saturday, Mr. Obama called on Congress to approve an
economic stimulus package as soon as possible. He also laid out his
priorities for fixing the economy.
"First, we need a rescue plan
for the middle class, that invests in immediate efforts to create jobs
and provides relief to families that are watching their paychecks
shrink and their life savings disappear," said Mr. Obama.
will address the spreading impact of the financial crisis on other
sectors of our economy, and ensure that the rescue plan that passed
Congress is working to stabilize financial markets, while protecting
taxpayers, helping homeowners and not unduly rewarding the management
of financial firms that are receiving government assistance," he continued.
Obama said a report this week that the U.S. economy has lost 1.2
million jobs this year underscores the importance of immediate action
when he takes office.
"In the wake of these disturbing reports,
I met with members of my transition economic advisory board, who will
help guide the work of my transition team in developing a strong set of
policies to respond to this crisis," he said. "While we must recognize
that we only have one president at a time, and that President Bush is
the leader of our government, I want to ensure that we hit the ground
running on January 20, because we do not have a moment to lose."
President Bush, in his weekly radio address, said he would do everything in his power to help Mr. Obama succeed.
I called President-elect Obama to congratulate him on his historic
victory, I told him that he can count on my complete cooperation as he
makes his transition to the White House," he said. "Ensuring that this
transition is seamless is a top priority for the rest of my time in
Mr. Bush will meet with Mr. Obama at the White House on
Monday, to discuss the transition. Mr. Obama says he looks forward to
the meeting, and he appreciates his predecessor's cooperation.
speaks to a fundamental recognition that here in America, we can
compete vigorously in elections and challenge each other's ideas, yet
come together in service of a common purpose once the voting is done,"
he said. "And that is particularly important at a moment when we face
the most serious challenges of our lifetime."
says ensuring a smooth transition is a matter of national security.
"This will also be America's first wartime presidential transition in
four decades," he said.
"We are 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. So
my administration will work hard to ensure that the next president and
his team can hit the ground running," he added.
Mr. Bush says the White
House and federal agencies have been working for more than a year to
make sure the next president can get off to a quick start.
then, the president says he will continue to address the nation's
economic problems, and he urges Congress to approve free trade deals
with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. He will also host an economic
summit in Washington on November 15.
Meanwhile, an aide to
President-elect Obama says the future U.S. leader did not give Poland
any commitment on a missile defense shield. Polish President Lech
Kaczynski claims Mr. Obama would go ahead with plans to install the
system in eastern Europe. Mr. Obama's aide Denis McDonough confirms
the two men spoke by telephone Friday, but says the president-elect
only supports a missile defense shield when "the technology is proved
to be workable."