Barack Obama holds his first post-election meeting with President George W. Bush Monday even as aides said he would reverse current White House policy on oil drilling and stem cell research.
Accompanied by his wife Michelle, Obama will pay 90 minute visit, touring the house that will become their home, before Bush and the president-elect sit down to discuss issues including the transition of power, the ailing U.S. economy and the war in Iraq.
Bush applauded Obama’s election victory as a "triumph" and invited the president-elect to the White House to discuss the transition during in his weekend radio address.
"He can count on my complete cooperation as he makes his transition to the White House," the outgoing leader was quoted by AFP as saying.
He and his successor also would discuss Iraq and the global economic crisis in their first post-election face-to-face talks on Monday, he added.
Bush told about 1,000 aides during an emotional thank-you speech on Thursday that they needed to bring Obama’s team up to speed on critical matters such as the war and the economic meltdown.
While Obama has made it clear that he is aware that Bush is still the president until Jan. 20, he is working on quickly forming a government and preparing policies so he can "hit the ground running" when he takes office.
TOURING THE WHITE HOUSE
Bush has hailed the victory by Obama -- son of a black Kenyan father and white American mother -- as a "dream fulfilled" for civil rights.
"It will be a stirring sight to watch President Obama, his wife Michelle, and their beautiful girls step through the doors of the White House," Bush said the morning after the election.
The Obamas have a 2:00 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) appointment with Bush and first lady Laura Bush.
Incoming presidents typically visit the White House to get acquainted with their future home and be briefed by the current president and first lady. But Obama's trip is unusually early in the transition process, due in part to the severity of the economic crisis. It is also the first transition of power during wartime in decades.
Obama said he looked forward to working with Bush on the process.
"This 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," Reuters quoted Obama as saying on Saturday in his radio address.
"And that is particularly important at a moment when we face the most serious challenges of our lifetime."