CHICAGO (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama and former
Republican rival John McCain pledged Monday to work together on
ways to change Washington's "bad habits," though aides to both
men said it was unlikely McCain would serve in an Obama Cabinet.
The two men met in Obama's transition headquarters in Chicago
for the first time since the Illinois senator vanquished McCain in
the presidential election Nov. 4. Obama said they wanted to talk
about "how we can do some work together to fix up the country,"
and he added that he would offer his own thanks to McCain "for the
outstanding service he's already rendered."
President-Elect Obama has said he is likely to invite at least one Republican to join his Cabinet, but McCain was not expected to be a candidate.
The Arizonan is serving his fourth term in the Senate.
President-Elect Obama and McCain sat together for a brief picture-taking session with reporters, along with Rahm Emanuel, Obama's incoming White House chief of staff, and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain's close friend. Obama and McCain were heard briefly discussing football, and Obama cracked that "the national press is tame compared to the Chicago press."
When asked if he planned to help the Obama administration,
McCain replied, "Obviously."
After the meeting, the two issued a joint statement saying: "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," it said. "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."
Obama and McCain clashed bitterly during the fall campaign over
taxes, the Iraq War, and ways to fix the ailing economy. Things got
ugly at times, with McCain running ads comparing Obama to
celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and raising questions
about his relationship with a 1960s-era radical, William Ayers.
Obama's campaign, meanwhile, labeled the 72-year-old McCain
"erratic" and ran campaign ads deriding his economic views.
On Election Night, McCain paid tribute to Obama's historic
ascendancy as the nation's first black president. The two agreed
that night to meet after the election when McCain called Obama to
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)