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By Abdon Pallasch, Sun-Times Political Writer and
Lynn Sweet, Sun-Times Washington Bureau chief

CHICAGO--President-elect Barack Obama, inspired by Abraham Lincoln as he prepares for his presidency, is gathering his own team of rivals -- huddling with Sen. John McCain in Chicago on Monday while behind the scenes considering whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will fit into his administration as secretary of state.

After meeting for about an hour at Obama's transition offices on the 38th floor of the Kluczynski Federal Building, McCain and Obama issued a statement outlining the areas where they will work together: government waste, the financial crisis, energy and national security.

Notable for not being on the list: the contentious issue of immigration, on which McCain and Obama have found more agreement than McCain has with his fellow Republicans.

"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," the statement said.

McCain is not going to be offered a Cabinet spot, a source close to the Obama transition said.

Rather, the role for McCain that seems to be evolving is one where he either is tapped by Obama for special envoy assignments or leads a rump group of GOP senators who form situational alliances with Obama on issues where they have common ground.

Joint statement from President-elect Barack Obama and U.S. 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."

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From: Bazinet, Kenneth
Pool Report 3
Nov. 17, 2008

Your pool swept into the conference room in the Presidential Transition Office on the 38th floor of the Kluczynski Federal Building in downtown Chicago at 11:15 a.m. for the top of the pow wow between President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Asked about the goal of the meeting, 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 Sen. McCain for the outstanding service he's already rendered."

Sen. McCain was asked whether he would help Mr. Obama with his administration, and he responded, "Obviously."

Your pool tried to get the President-elect to answer a question on the auto industry bail out, but was shouted down by the pool sherpas. Mr. Obama finally said with a smile, "You're incorrigible."

My Chicago Sun-Times colleague Abdon Pallasch quotes President-elect Obama saying the Chicago reporters are tougher than the national press, as ABC-channel 7 political reporter Andy Shaw gets a question in the brief photo op.


By Abdon M. Pallasch

Chicago Sun-Times Political Reporter

CHICAGO--Just 13 days after the election and a month after their last face-to-face debate, President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain sat down to talk Monday at Obama's Transition headquarters in Chicago.

Off to McCain's right was his close ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C. Off to Obama's left was his newly announced chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)

"The national press is tame compared to the local press," Obama leaned over to McCain and quipped as the press filed in for a 90-second photo shoot.

WASHINGTON---John McCain meets with President-elect Barack Obama in Chicago on Monday at his Loop transition headquarters in a move towards post-election unity.

"It's well known that they share an important belief that Americans want and deserve a more effective and efficient government, and will discuss ways to work together to make that a reality. They will be joined in the meeting by Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Rahm Emanuel," a transition spokesman, Stephanie Cutter, said in a statement.

Emanuel is already on the job as Obama's White House Chief of Staff; earlier in the year, representing Obama, he negotiated the debate deal with Graham, McCain's sidekick.

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JACKSONVILLE, FL.--Barack Obama's mission here on Monday morning in this GOP territory is to keep John McCain's margins down so Democratic votes from other parts of Florida can propel him to clinching a state that has narrowly eluded Democrats for the past two elections. McCain campaigned Monday in Tampa on his own marathond last full day of the 2008 presidential contest.

Obama boiled down the almost two-year campaign to one word: "Tomorrow."

Showing more obvious confidence that he will win the White House Tuesday, Obama sent an olive branch to McCain during a speech here: "Now Sen. McCain has served this country honorably and at the end of this long race, I want to congratulate him on the tough race that he has fought."

JACKSONVILLE, FL.--While John McCain told his campaign not to make an issue of Barack Obama's association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he could not control GOP allies. Some GOP analysts have said McCain lost an opportunity to hit Obama on a significant vunerability by ruling out using Wright. I saw a spot slamming Obama's relationship with Wright Monday morning on cable here in Florida funded by the National Republica Trust political action committee titled "He never complained once." A Wright ad, bankrolled by another group, is running in Pennsylvania.

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PUEBLO, Colo. -- Vice President Dick Cheney, Barack Obama's politically unpopular distant cousin, handed Obama a gift Saturday by affirming his support for John McCain, while a Kenyan aunt of Obama's turned up in a Boston public housing apartment, living illegally in the U.S.

And foreshadowing what an Obama administration may look like, Obama urged public officials to boycott cable television shows that he contends only foment dissent and look back, not ahead.

"Don't spend all your time bickering, stay off the cable news shows," Obama said.

SPRINGFIELD, MO.--While the Obama entourage--Barack and Michelle Obama, their daughters, campaign staff, travel press-- was awakening in the heart of the Ozark Mountain Country on Sunday, the ad team released a new spot jamming John McCain with Vice President Cheney's tout of the McCain Palin ticket on Saturday.

(This corner of Missouri is usually a GOP stronghold; Obama took the time to stump here to cut down on McCain's margins, making it easier to win this battleground state.)

"I'm delighted to support John McCain and... I'm pleased that he's chosen a running mate with executive talent, toughness and common sense, our next vice president Sarah Palin," Cheney said in Wyoming.

Obama on Saturday in Pueblo, Col. called this an endorsement as it Cheney was for the first time coming out for McCain; perhaps a better way is just to say Cheney was just reaffirming his backing for the GOP ticket.


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UPDATE
DES MOINES, IA--Reacting to the new McCain spot--featuring Barack Obama praising John McCain for his work on climate change, Obama inserted some new language in his stump speech:

"Just this morning, the McCain campaign put out an ad that showed me praising him and Senator Lieberman for their work on global warming - as if there's something wrong with acknowledging when an opponent has said or done something that makes sense. I think we need more of that in Washington. I don't disagree with Senator McCain on everything, and I respect his occasional displays of independence."

McCain reply to Obama "rearview ad"

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Please see our campaign's response to Barack Obama's latest negative attack ad entitled: "Rear View." In the latest chapter of their "new kind" of political campaign, their ad uses doctored photographs to argue that John McCain is George W. Bush:

"Barack Obama's economic proposals are driven by job killing tax increases and out-of-control spending -- Barack Obama would drive this sputtering economy off a cliff." ---Tucker Bounds, spokesman McCain-Palin


IMG_8366.JPG
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson aboard Obama campaign plane, Oct. 30, 2008.
(photo by Lynn Sweet)

SARASOTA, FL.--It's a sunny day and the grass has that fresh cut wonderful smell here at the Ed Smith Stadium, with a big crowd to see Barack Obama, with five days left to the campaign.

"We've got to work hard these last five days," Obama is saying. "...It is time to change drivers. We've got to have somebody else at the wheel."

Obama was introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fl.) who rode on the Obama plane from Orlando to Sarasota this morning, Chatting with reporters before take off, Nelson said that Obama, with five days left to the race, is in much better shape than John Kerry was at this point four years ago. Two of Obama's best field organizers--Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes--have been camped in the state for weeks.

Said Nelson, "So contrast to 2004, big difference was that John Kerry was spending most of his time in south Florida in the last few days. This time Obama is and Biden are all over the state. To give you another example, Michelle Obama last week in Gainesville, the largest crowd she's had in the country, was in downtown Gainesville, Florida 11,000 people"

NEW OBAMA "REARVIEW" SPOT
to play in key states

RALEIGH, N.C.--A new Obama ad released on Wednesday questions John McCain's experience in handling the economy and his judgment in tapping Sarh Palin to be his running mate. It comes as rifts are being written about between Palin and her McCain campaign handlers and polls suggest that she is turning out to be a liability. McCain's advisors had counted on Palin being a quick enough study so that her inexperience would not become a major issue. While Palin was crucial to McCain rallying his conservative base and drawing crowds, her downsides gave Obama an opening to leverage.

I asked Obama top strategist David Axelrod why they were going after Palin.

"We wanted to look at how Sen. McCain has talked about him self and the economy and his lack of grasp of the economic issues. He said he would appoint a vice president who had expertise on the economy and that's who he chose. And we'll let people make their own judgment," said Axelrod.

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Obama cranking up charismatic heat

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Transcript courtesy Federal News Service....

WASHINGTON--I just waited 66 minutes to cast an absentee ballot at the city's election headquarters downtown. Lines I am told have been long since at least Friday. Are you early voting? What's your experience?

Updated 10:25 p.m. eastern time....The McCain team is hitting Barack Obama on his ties to Tony Rezko in video, direct mail timed to hit mail boxes in targeted areas on Monday and in robo calls....Here's the link to a McCain-Rezko direct mail piece.



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This John McCain spot released Saturday, hitting Barack Obama as "untested" in turbulent times (the video is of a choppy ocean) and raising questions about his "quick rise to power" is to run in markets in key states.....

WASHINGTON--

WASHINGTON--Michelle Obama filled in for Barack Obama at big rallies in Ohio on Friday while Obama visited his ailing grandmother back in Honolulu, who lives in the same apartment he lived in as a teen.

Michelle on Saturday delivers the regular Democratic radio address.

Obama in Friday spent time with his grandmother and then went for a solitary walk around his old neighborhood, with a Secret Service agent trailing behind him,

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the John McCain category.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the previous category.

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