Go to contents

Obama Holds 1st News Conference as Pres.-elect

Posted November. 10, 2008 08:25,   


Barack Obama convened his first news conference as president-elect Friday afternoon at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago.

“The United States has only one government and one president at a time. And until January 20th of next year, that government is the current administration,” he said in his opening comments.

In his first radio address as president-elect Saturday, he said the United States must recognize President Bush as the incumbent leader of the government.

On Obama’s words, Jon Wolfsthal, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said a rapid power transition is taking place but the president-elect cannot make a decision or give orders until sworn into office as the nation’s 44th president under the Constitution.

Bush invited Obama to the White House Monday to discuss details of the transition. Apart from those occasions, however, many American experts say the president-elect will stay mostly in Chicago before his inauguration.

Obama is likely to select senior officials to run his administration by going over a list of top contenders for each Cabinet position with his transition team.

His decision to snub the G20 financial summit in Washington Saturday can be understood in the same context. A diplomatic source in Washington said, “The president-elect will neither participate in the summit nor meet heads of state individually.”

Historians say the cacophony in the power transition from then President James Buchanan to then President-elect Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s was one of the causes of the Civil War.

Meanwhile Obama has begun talking to world leaders by calling to thank them for their congratulatory messages.

He held phone conversations with nine world leaders Thursday, including Korean President Lee Myung-bak. He continued his phone diplomacy with six heads of state Friday, including those of Egypt, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Poland.

Obama called Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Saturday.