CHICAGO (AP) – President-elect Barack Obama plans to meet with vanquished Republican rival John McCain on Monday in Chicago, his transition office announced Friday.
The meeting will be the first since Obama, the Democratic Illinois senator, beat McCain, an Arizona senator, by an Electoral College landslide in the Nov. 4 election.
“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,” Obama spokesman Stephanie Cutter said in announcing the meeting.
Cutter also said the two will be joined at Obama’s Chicago transition office by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a McCain confidant, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Democrat whom Obama has chosen to be his White House chief of staff.
In his first two weeks as president-elect, Obama has struck a bipartisan tone. He paired a Republican and a Democrat to meet with foreign leaders this weekend on his behalf in Washington, for example, and his aides emphasized the bringing together of both sides in announcing the meeting with McCain.
Republican and Democratic officials say Emanuel and Graham arranged in a post-election conversation to have Obama and McCain meet at the earliest possible time and Monday was it. Emanuel and Graham have worked together before on issues on Capitol Hill, and Graham jumped to Emanuel’s defense when Republicans criticized his appointment as Obama’s chief of staff.
Since the election, McCain has had few public appearances. He appeared on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno on Tuesday and campaigned in Georgia for Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who faces a runoff next month.