By Joseph Williams, Globe Staff
WASHINGTON -- President Bush said today he plans to meet with his successor, Barack Obama, early next week to brief him on pressing issues and ensure an orderly transfer of presidential power -- the first wartime change in 40 years.
Addressing his administration's cabinet and staff on the South Lawn of the White House, Bush also instructed them to cooperate with Obama's transition team, bringing them up to speed as quickly and as professionally as possible, part of what he called an "unprecedented effort" to make sure the nation's executive branch of government "is prepared to execute its responsibilities at all times."
Bush said he'll personally meet with Obama to discuss the state of the Wall Street bailout, the economy and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I look forward to discussing those issues with the president-elect early next week," he added.
UPDATE: The Obama camp announced that the meeting with Bush will be on Monday.
“Michelle and I look forward to meeting with President Bush and the First Lady on Monday to begin the process of a smooth, effective transition. I thank him for reaching out in the spirit of bipartisanship that will be required to meet the many challenges we face as a nation,” Obama said in a statement.
In the last days of his administration, Bush said, it's natural that staffers would be a bit distracted. "Many of you are anxious about finding a job or a new place to live. I know how you feel," he deadpanned.
Nevertheless, Bush urged his staff to follow his example and sprint to the finish line of his term.
"The American people expect no less," Bush said. When his run ends and Obama takes office, he added, "I will be honored to stand with you at the finish line."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.