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November 17th, 2008
11:44 AM ET

Meeting of the minds: Why Obama and McCain need each other

Barack Obama and John McCain at the end of their final presidential debate.

Barack Obama and John McCain at the end of their final presidential debate.

James Carney
Time Magazine

Less than two weeks ago, on election night, John McCain pledged to do "all in my power to help [Barack Obama] lead us through the many challenges we face." On Monday, McCain will travel to Chicago to discuss ways he can fulfill that promise in a private meeting with the President-elect.

There were some who doubted the sincerity of McCain's pledge, coming so soon after the end of a campaign that featured a series of personal attacks on Obama. But it pays to remember that the self-styled maverick was never very comfortable as the standard bearer of a party that he had opposed so many times on so many issues. And the party long felt the same way.

Last Friday brought notice that the relationship between the two would soon be returning to form when South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint became the first high-profile Republican to lay the blame for McCain's loss on McCain himself. "We have to be honest, and there's a lot of blame to go around," DeMint told a GOP gathering in Myrtle Beach, S.C. "But I have to mention George Bush, and I have to mention Ted Stevens, and I'm afraid I even have to mention John McCain." DeMint then offered a list of McCain's anti-conservative apostasies, including his support for campaign finance reform, immigration reform and legislation aimed at combating global warming.

The items on DeMint's list of lament read like talking points to jump-start Monday afternoon's conversation in Chicago between McCain and Obama. According to an Obama aide, the President-elect views McCain as a potential ally on the kind of reform issues for which the two men share broad agreement. "There are areas of general agreement and beliefs — on immigration, earmark reform, energy, climate change, government reform, spending reform," says the aide. "Where there's agreement on both sides, they want to figure out ways they can work together."

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Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • James Carney • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Maria

    I think it is smart move from Obama to include McCain in the administration, Obama knows very well McCain qualifications.

    November 17, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  2. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Actually, I agree once more with my conservative friend, CINDY FROM GA! Our Nation is in a CRISIS, we need our government to set aside their egos, their agendas, their political parties.... and WORK TOGETHER! We need everyone on board, IF we are to dig out of this enormous mess!

    McCain can help President-elect Obama with his ties in Congress, his pull with the Republicans and his connections of many years.

    Once again we see the wisdom and grace of our future president. I am impressed!

    November 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  3. Jackie in Dallas

    My two cents...

    McCain, at least the one that was in the Senate and ran in 2000, is a man who is a bit of a centrist, something that the Republicans are not noted for being in the last 30-40 years. He IS rather unpopular with some of his Republican party elite, but does have some clout to bring together those who are less carved in GOP granite. He has notably been able to reach across the aisles and create unusual and viable compromises and teamwork. I was glad to see the re-emergence of THAT McCain in his concession speech, since his campaign was just so obviously not HIM.

    (Please, noone mention THAT WOMAN's name! Maybe if we don't, she might just fade back into Alaska!)

    November 17, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  4. C,Ca

    I wonder if Obama greeted McCain with, "Hi Senator McCain, I'm Barack the President".

    November 17, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  5. Janet, Maine

    People stop the divisive talks and start being positive and please make suggestions on how the country can be a better place for all Americans TO LIVE. COME ON PEOPLE STOP THE NEGATIVE TALKS.

    November 17, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  6. Lamont austin

    Here you go again Cing Ga, Obama doesnt need Mccain, you see, thats you peoples problem you cant see things for what they really are,
    Obama is showing everyone Republican and Democrat and the american people that he's willing to work with all sides of gov. to get things done, since some people believe in Mccains ideals, I believe Obama feels that it would be good to incorporate some influence... (Not because he needs to but because things might get done in a non-partisan way) You people are ust to a divided aAmerica...

    ARIZONA RON FROM TUCSON

    November 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  7. Larry

    I think that P-e obama sincerely appreciates Sen. McCain's service contributions to the country in the military and the senate. Perhaps there is a job that he sees only McCain being able to fill; an ambassador?

    November 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  8. earle,florida

    I'm amazed at just how close this election was in terms of electoral votes, and popular votes cast. McCain barely lost, yet the public percieves this victory of Obama as a landslide! Simply put, Bush beat McCain for the 3rd time, and any person opposing the Republican Party was a virtual shoe-in! Obama is a BS artist, and a closet capitalist whose political (malfunctioning) compass has lost it's true "North". That being said, the democrat's run the show,so stop the unnecessary talks (pussyfooting)about mending fence's,and calls for reaching accross the isle,feigning;"let's bury the hatchet",it's all falling upon deaf ears,Barach. Just beat the spit out of the Republicans, or you'll be a one term, "Jimmy Carter"!

    November 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  9. Bev

    It is good to see these two coming together in an effort to help this country get back to what it once was. I would like to see the McCain of old – when he truly was a maverick.

    Bev. . Tn Tonawanda NY

    November 17, 2008 at 12:43 pm |
  10. Cindy

    I think that Obama does need McCain to help him to try to get some of the Reps on his side on the big votes that will come up such as the earmark thing or what not. But in all honesty I don't think McCain is too popular with a lot of the Reps so he may not garner too much power over them since most didn't like him to begin with because of his maverick ways. But I think McCain may be able to muster up the needed votes to pass a bill seeing that the dems control things in congress and don't need that many votes from the Reps anyway.

    Cindy...Ga.

    November 17, 2008 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    John McCain could have walked on water and still lost this election because of the economy and 8 years of Bush. Sarah Palin didn't help his chances much either. Instead of pointing fingers of blame for the loss of the White House the GOP needs to take a good long look at their policies and figure out how they are going to appeal to the new voters in the population – the ones that don't own a big business or have made their first million.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 17, 2008 at 12:21 pm |