A Dignified Departure?

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, October 30, 2008; 12:59 PM

During the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush famously promised to "restore honor and integrity" to the White House.

By most accounts, he failed miserably.

But there are some signs that he intends a dignified departure.

The transition of power from one administration to another is never without its complications. This one -- coming at a time of great financial crisis and war -- seems particularly dicey. But Bush and his aides appear committed to making everything go as smoothly as possible.

Demetri Sevastopulo writes in the Financial Times: "While Barack Obama and John McCain have been trading blows over who would be the best commander-in-chief, the White House has been working with both campaigns to ensure that the winner of Tuesday's election will be prepared for the first change in presidential power since the 2001 terror attacks on the US. . . .

"Experts on presidential transitions and participants in the process say the Bush administration effort has been unprecedented in modern American history.

"'I don't recall any other transition as detailed or as conscientious as this,' said one outside transition adviser.

"'Partly it is a damage limitation thing, but partly it is a noble thing. . . . They see it as part of their obligation to facilitate as smooth a transfer as possible.'"

Jon Ward writes in the Washington Times: "On Oct. 9 the president issued an executive order creating a Presidential Transition Coordinating Council. . . .

"Blake Gottesman, the president's deputy chief of staff for operations, serves as the council's vice chairman. . . .

"Mr. Gottesman said that the transition effort is unique from past outgoing administrations because of 'the level of engagement and level of interaction . . . [and] how much earlier we started.' . . .

"Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, a scholar of presidential transitions, was invited to attend the transition council's second meeting, which was held Tuesday at the White House."

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