Posted January. 12, 2009 07:16,
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will hold a dinner with his rival in the presidential election John McCain Jan. 19, one of three dinners he will attend on the eve of his inauguration.
He will also hold dinners with former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
Obama said in a statement Saturday, "In these times of great challenge and great change, leadership requires rising above the same old narrow partisanship. Each of these distinguished Americans has spent his life in service to his country, at each and every moment placing the interests of America before issues of political party."
Congressional leaders from both parties will attend. Notably, Obamas dinner with McCain, known as a maverick politician, is apparently seen as Obama`s intent to renew his strong will to embrace rival forces and work across party lines.
McCain also told Fox News Friday that he wants to help the president succeed, adding, "There are not many times in history that a president has come to office with as many challenges as the president-elect does and that`s incumbent then upon all of us to try and do all we can to work with him."
McCain also commended Obama`s formation of his diplomacy and security team as "outstanding." The Republican senator also supported Obamas choice of former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta as CIA director.
McCain called Panetta a very qualified figure and said it is not a bad idea to sometimes bring in an intelligence chief from the outside. Panetta has no intelligence experience.