The Obama-McCain meeting


Not a lot to emerge from the president-elect’s meeting with John McCain (and Lindsey Graham and Rahm Emanuel) today, which is to be expected. Here’s the closest thing to substance I’ve seen, from their joint communique:

We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical
challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy
economy, and protecting our nation’s security.

Of those items, seems to me the greatest potential for collaboration would be on energy. (But I would think that, wouldn’t I?)

Here’s a scene-setter from the NYT politics blog:

Senator John McCain and President-elect Barack Obama are sitting
down together now and metaphorically smoking a peace pipe in their
first face-to-face session since the bruising campaign.

The two are meeting at Mr. Obama’s transition headquarters at a federal building in Chicago, where they just posed for the cameras.

The meeting space has a stagey look, in front of the kind of thick
royal blue curtain you see in an auditorium, not the usual
campaign-rigged blue backdrop. Flags are strewn throughout, with one
planted between the two principals, who are sitting in yellow,
Oval-Office-like chairs.

To their sides are their wingmen, Rahm Emanuel on Mr. Obama’s left
and Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina on Mr. McCain’s right.

They’re all looking jolly (Mr. Obama and Mr. Emanual the jolliest), and we’ll soon get a read-out on the discussion.

The Obama team is hoping they can smooth any ruffled feathers and
build an alliance with the old John McCain — not the one whom the Obama
camp called “erratic” during the presidential campaign but the
self-styled “maverick” who worked across party lines for various causes
that Mr. Obama wants to advance — global warming, immigration, earmark
spending among them.

In the brief moment before the cameras, Mr. Obama said: “We’re going
to have a good conversation about how we can do some work together to
fix up the country, and also to offer thanks to Senator McCain for the
outstanding service he’s already rendered.”

Mr. McCain was asked whether he would help Mr. Obama with his administration.

“Obviously,” he said.

Those pesky reporters tried to shout out other queries, like about a
possible bail-out for the auto industry, but the pool report says they
were “shouted down by the pool sherpas,” and that “Mr. Obama finally
said with a smile, ‘You’re incorrigible.’”

The last in-person meeting between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain took place more than a month ago, at the third and final presidential debate at Hofstra, remembered chiefly as the coming-out party for Joe the Plumber.

Updated | 2:12 p.m.: A joint statement was released from President-elect Barack Obama and Senator John McCain:

“At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of
all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the
bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent
challenges of our time. It is in this spirit that we had a productive
conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where
we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in
order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and
opportunity for every hardworking American family. We hope to work
together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like
solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and
protecting our nation’s security.”

Beyond that, here are versions of the story from:

27 thoughts on “The Obama-McCain meeting

  1. slugger

    Forget all the above.
    Watching CNN a few minutes ago and Obama was telling about reading books that would guide him in his presidency.
    He is reading about Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    Better find rock to hind under. The fallout is going to kill you.

  2. Harry Harris

    I still believe the key members of the Senate who will ally with the Obama administration on contentious issues will be McCain, Graham, Snow, and Hegel/Specter alternately filling-in on foreign policy and domestic issues. There are an array of issues and bills they will likely help advance.

  3. Lee Muller

    Obama sure knew the soft spots in the GOP.
    This is all about who will bend to meet the agenda of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid. You don’t see the Democrats even talking to any conservatives or moderates or conservatives, only those who have already demonstrated a willingness to sell out to the extreme left on immigration and big spending projects in the past.

  4. Lee Muller

    Abe Lincoln and FDR, the two most divisive Presidents in history, both with unAmerican agendas which were repeatedly found unConstitutional.
    Obama should fit right in.

  5. Bart

    Here is some red meat for discussion. Should the taxpayers approve a bailout for the auto industry if the unions are not willing to bend and give up something in order to keep their jobs?
    Should the Bush approach which is to give them $25 billion but use the money earmarked already for developing fuel efficient cars be the source or should an additional $25 billion from the bailout money be set aside?
    Both are under consideration but from all indications, there are not enough votes for the use of bailout money and the only place it can come from without further alienating the voters would be from money already set aside for fuel efficiency development. Which is more imperative at this particular moment in time? Saving the auto industry or holding off temporarily the funding for fuel efficient technology?
    If given the numbers of upwards of 3 to 5 million potential jobs affected, I would think in this instance postponing fuel efficiency would be the prudent move to make. When Obama takes office, he can make other arrangements since he will have a major majority to work with and can set his own agenda.
    Another consideration is the fact that the auto companies are developing fuel efficient cars and some are already on the market. If we have to slow the process down in order to save jobs and the industry, where is the harm if safeguards are in place if the $25 billion in place is released for another purpose?
    When it comes to the family income, sometimes you have to take a step back to avoid a complete disaster. If the auto industry hits the bankruptcy courts, imagine the fallout across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
    I am all for protecting the environment but at what price? If we allow a complete (questionable at best) failure of the auto industry, what next? Can we continue to offer bailouts for any industry or business that falls on hard times? What happens if the money is given to GM, Ford, and Chrysler and they don’t do anything to improve their operations? What happens if the unions refuse to cooperate? (Boeing avoided a strike by the engineers and other factions at Boeing are threatening to strike. Where is the common cause for all Americans in a time of financial crisis?)
    Yes, this does affect us in our comfortable SC homes as well. The Southeast is fast becoming Detroit South with so many auto plants constructed or under construction.
    Opinions and solutions welcome.

  6. Bart

    Sorry once again. Its late. Should have asked if this was something they should have discussed at the meeting? I think so since it will be an Obama problem come January 20th.

  7. Tim

    Will Lindsay Graham ever be our senator again? Or will he continue to gadfly his but around the country? Forever?

  8. Steve Gordy

    It’s far too early to tell, but I have a hunch (and that’s all it is) that Obama will find it much easier to deal with McCain, Spector, etc., than with Pelosi and Reid.

  9. Lee Muller

    On most issues, Obama is aligned with Pelosi and Reid, or is even more radically anti-individual than they are. Obama supported Reid 100% on what few votes he cast on legislation.
    There may be individual issues where you can find some flaming extremist Democrat who is more radical than Obama, but that doesn’t make Obama a moderate liberal. Overall, Obama has voted and taken positions more socialistic than Bernie Sanders, Henry Waxman, Chuck Schumer, and Harry Reid.

  10. bud

    Lee’s first comment has a bit of merit. Obama is reaching out to the more moderate members of the GOP while ignoring the far right wing members. That’s as it should be. He was elected with a nearly 7% advantage over his GOP rival and that suggests the people expect a more progressive approach to solving the nations problems. That leaves the right wing of the GOP as essentially extremists so they SHOULD be ignored lest Obama ignore the people who elected him.
    George W. Bush ignored not only the far left wing of the Democratic party but in effect ignored the whole party and perhaps a few moderate Republicans. And look what happened. He attempted to push through an extremist plan to gut Social Security and that failed miserably. That, along with his botched handling of Katrina doomed his second term and he now stands as the most unpopular president of all time. If he had instead focused more attention on the looming economic crises his legacy could have been much brighter. Hopefully Obama will learn from the mistakes of his predesesor and govern middle-left. Ignoring the far right wing of the GOP in favor of the moderate center-right of that party is a good start.

  11. p.m.

    This meeting strikes me as nothing but window dressing with Republicans kissing up, and there sits the kissingest of the upkissers himself in attendance — Sen. Lindsay Graham of Sho Nuff Sir, S.C.

  12. Brad Warthen

    Well, Lindsey’s not telling much. Here’s his release about the meeting:

    Statement on Meeting with President-Elect Obama

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after meeting with President-elect Barack Obama. 

    “We had a productive discussion with President-elect Obama and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with him.  I believe there will be opportunities to find common ground on the many difficult issues facing our nation.   Everyone at the meeting was committed to reducing government waste, reducing bitter partisanship, and reforming our government to make it work better for the American people.

    “Where possible, the American people want us to work in a bipartisan fashion to address their problems.  I think today’s meeting was a positive step forward.”


  13. Rich

    Obama has been inspired by the work of historians such as Doris Kearns Goodwin who recently wrote of Lincoln’s cabinet as a government of rivals banded together to confront a national emergency on a bipartisan basis. It’s an excellent idea given the increasing gravity of the economic crisis in this country. State governments all over the country are having to cut back essential services and, when the economy is down, poorer parts of this country suffer the most. The auto industry is going to need a bail-out, but Obama has made clear that it must come with conditions.
    I think reaching out to McCain is an excellent idea. While I do believe that the Democrats have a mandate to put through their agenda, they still need to listen to the voices of the loyal Republican opposition and craft solutions to our problems on a bipartisan basis.
    If the Republicans can recover their heritage as the party of Lincoln and of fiscal conservatism, then we can begin to have once again a true choice for Americans other than big spenders all around. The Democracy is unapologetic about spending to improve social welfare, but at least they pay for it with taxes. The Republicans also spend on their pet programs (like invading countries and deploying our massive military might in the teeth of worldwide opposition), but they don’t want to pay for it. Either way, whatever is spent must be paid for.
    The rhetoric of cutting taxes must be accompanied by deep cuts in military spending. We’re going to need a peace dividend to pay our bills. We don’t need to deploy more missiles in Europe (thereby needlessly antagonizing the Russian bear) and we need scale back our military commitments worldwide. The business of America should be business, not maintaining an empire.
    I also like the idea of Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State. Reaction to that idea all around has been positive. Even Kissinger (whose book, Diplomacy, I very much enjoyed when it came out ten years ago) has endorsed her.
    A place in the administration should be found for McCain, should he be willing to leave the Senate. He could become Secretary of the VA or some other agency (other than Defense) in which he has an interest.
    The most important portfolios, however, must remain in Democratic hands, and while bipartisanship is a great idea, the Democracy must still satisfy its base and deliver on the social agenda: preservation of a woman’s right to choose, gay rights, stem-cell research, preservation of social security and medicare, and a general, continuing extension of America’s commitment to civil rights. Barack should close Gitmo, end the practice of overseas torture, bring our troops home, and generally implement the Democratic platform.
    Let’s remember that, regardless of the need for bipartisanship, the Democracy did win the election and they have the right to implement their program.
    I did not vote for Democrats in order to see Republicans rule.

  14. p.m.

    Well, speaking of voting for a Democrat, a Zogby poll of 512 Obama voters, more than half of whom were college graduates and almost all of whom had graduated high school, got these results on a multiple-choice test:
    * 57.4% could not correctly say which party controls Congress;
    * 82.6% could not correctly say that Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot
    * 88.4% could not correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket.
    * Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes
    * Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter
    * 86.9% thought that Palin said she could see Russia from her house, even though it was Tina Fey who said that.
    The entire results of the poll are available at
    If the media have done no more bipartisan job of informing America’s voters than that, Brad, and, though you extol bipartisanship, you follow the media’s example on the blog by complaining about “rightest” of right-wingers, yet you let the “wrongest” on the left just slide, sometimes even patting them on the back, why should I believe anybody anywhere when they say they want bipartisanship?
    Is your version of bipartisan just supporting just the left-middle and the left, or what?

  15. bud

    P.M., that poll was conducted by an extreme right-wing organization in a partisan attempt to discredit the new president. It’s time to quit whining about the election and move on. Only the Limbaugh faithful continue to cling to the notion that conservatism is somehow a workable political philosophy. It’s been given a chance. It has failed. And now it’s time to move on.

  16. p.m.

    Pardon me. It appears the last sentence of my last post was too just, or just two, or two just, or something.

  17. p.m.

    Bud, first, Zogby is no more right-wing than USA Today-CNN is left wing, yet you lap up their polls like a kitten with a bowl of warm milk. I bet you’ve already ordered your Obama $1 goldpiece for $19.95.
    Second, there will be no “new president” until January.
    Third, I’m not whining. I’m just trying to point out how we got here, and it doesn’t look any more bipartisan than your continuously unsupported assertion that conservatism is not a “workable political philosophy.”
    Fourth, the point is that the media was in the tank for Obama, and still is, and will apparently continue to be. Should he fail, no matter how badly it goes, his media lapdogs will minimize his role in it and find a way to blame it on an utterly powerless Republican minority.
    We stand at the brink of the Fourth Estate colluding with the other three to create Totalitaria. There is even talk of quashing the opposition’s right to free speech (Fairness Doctrine). It is not time to move on. It is time to dig in and keep America out of the hands of you and Al Franken.

  18. bud

    Here’s an excerpt from about the inflamatory “push poll”
    The conservative website reports that it has commissioned Zogby International to conduct a poll of 512 Barack Obama voters as part of what can best be described as a viral marketing effort to discredit the intelligence of Obama supporters.
    The website, created by former radio talk show host John Ziegler to promote a forthcoming documentary, features a YouTube clip of interviews with 12 Obama voters who “were chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience”.

  19. p.m.

    No, bud, not “as part of what can best be described as a viral marketing effort to discredit the intelligence of Obama supporters.” More than half those polled were college graduates.
    The polls just demonstrates how ill-informed the media left Obama’s horde. Of course, that doesn’t explain how Obama’s backers didn’t know who’s been in charge of Congress the last two years, but, if you think about it, nothing could justify someone voting without knowing who’s been in charge of Congress lately.

  20. Phillip

    A few folks here are complaining that, as he prepares for the Presidency, Obama is reading and studying books about FDR and Lincoln (horrors!).
    Given the president we’ve had for the last eight years, regardless of subject matter isn’t it remarkable that we have an incoming president who is actually an avid reader?

  21. Rich

    I think reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine would go a long way to restoring the political balance on talk radio. Since so many Americans get their political views from this source, there need to be more voices out there expressing a variety of views.
    If you use the public airwaves, fairness has got to be the way to go!

  22. Birchibald T. Barlow

    Questions for Rich – or anyone else,
    Does anyone know how talk radio became so unbalanced? I haven’t listened to talk radio since I was growing up (my dad would often listen to Limbaugh). And evem that wasn’t so long ago, relatively speaking. So my views on the subject are limited. But I can’t figure any reason why the Right would have so much success with talk radio and the Left wouldn’t.
    Also, do you think that perhaps talk radio is losing its influence? I would think so due to availability of information on the internet.
    Finally, how would a fairness doctrine work exactly? I admit I am ignorant of the details of it. Would it require radio to have “Leftist” programming along with what it has now? What about other points of view such as communist or libertarian? Would they get any representation under the Fairness Doctrine? And if not, how is that justified as fair?

  23. bud

    Limbaugh listeners are a loyal, but limited group. He has about 20 million who tune in daily to get their marching orders. These folks have their preconcieved notion of what the world is like and Limbaugh caters to that perception. He doesn’t offer any real facts. Rather he just spins the latest conservative talking points and will occassionaly bring in some sort of faux information source to “bolster” his claim. His claims have been thoroughly debunked many times over yet he continues to make the same phony claims.
    Limbaugh doesn’t care about the truth. He certainly has no interest in an open dialogue about issues. He is rather just an entertainer trying to make money. And he’s good at it. His success stems largely from the conservative mindset that just wants, despartely to be correct, not informed. If that means accepting the gospel according to Rush, so be it.

  24. p.m.

    Never mind freedom of speech, huh, Rich?
    If liberal talk radio won’t pay for itself, make the government pay for it, just like the government pays for NPR’s two eyes aimed left and lefter.
    What’s the plan? Dispose of freedom of religion and freedom of speech to get us ready for government your way?
    And yet you belittle the comparison to Hitler when you mimic his doctrine for the state?

  25. Lee Muller

    The federal government could enforce its own “Fairness Doctrine” right now, on NPR and ETV, to make them include some viewpoints other than snotty academics who enjoy their latte’ and Chablis, but espouse socialism for the rest of us.
    And The View should be forced to have Ann Coulter as a host.

  26. Lee Muller

    The Iraqi parliament just voted to retain the option to keep US coalition troops in Iraq for another 4 years. They are telling Obama to please not pull out the troops and surrender them to Islamofascism.

Comments are closed.