WASHINGTON -- Maybe he was just waiting until he had the right reason to drop by, but Barack Obama made his first-ever trip to the Oval Office Monday afternoon, meeting with President Bush for about an hour to discuss the transition.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, who met separately with Laura Bush, arrived a little early for their visit. The Bushes greeted them outside, the four posed for pictures, and then they went inside for private talks.
"President-elect Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama were very warmly welcomed today at the White House by President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush," said Stephanie Cutter, Obama's transition spokeswoman, in a statement that called the meeting "productive and friendly." "They had a broad discussion about the importance of working together throughout the transition of government in light of the nation’s many critical economic and security challenges. President-elect Obama thanked President Bush for his commitment to a smooth transition, and for his and First Lady Laura Bush's gracious hospitality in welcoming the Obamas to the White House."
The transition team provided a little more detail about the summit between the once and future first ladies. "The First Lady led Mrs. Obama on a tour of the White House that focused primarily on the private residence of the historic home," said Cutter, who was Michelle Obama's campaign chief of staff. "After this tour, the First Lady and Mrs. Obama visited in the West Sitting Hall, where they discussed raising daughters in the White House, as Jenna and Barbara Bush were similar in age to Malia and Sasha Obama when they visited their grandfather, President George H.W. Bush, during his presidency. Mrs. Obama was honored to finally meet the First Lady, who was a gracious hostess. Following their visit, Mrs. Obama met with Admiral Rochon, the White House Chief Usher."
Obama was careful to remind people on Friday, in his first post-election press conference, that Bush is still president until Jan. 20. Chances are, Obama won't be back at the White House much before then.
See video of the visit here: