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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama moves on to prepare for White House life

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President-elected Barack Obama has taken no rest after a 22-month campaign and is moving onto prepare for his upcoming presidency.

On Thursday, two days after Obama was elected the 44th president of the U.S., the Democratic senator from Illinois was busy planning meetings with economic advisors and conversing with foreign leaders by telephone.

Obama has talked with nine world leaders since his victory over Republican Senator John McCain in the presidential election.

The leaders included Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Japanese Prime Minister Aso Taro, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter.

On Friday, Obama was set to meet with his economic team and discuss solutions to the current financial crisis, which opinion polls have showed is the top concern of American voters this year.

Obama, who takes office Jan. 20, was also scheduled to hold his first news conference as president-elect on Friday.

Another priority on Obama's pre-White House agenda is the formation of his cabinet.

Rahm Emanuel, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, has accepted Obama's invitation to become his chief of staff.

"I announce this appointment first because the chief of staff is central to the ability of a president and administration to accomplish an agenda," Obama said in a statement. "And no one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel."

Obama has yet to decide who will head the Treasury Department as the U.S. struggles with fallout from the global financial crisis and economic meltdown.

Potential candidates for the post include, according U.S. media speculation, Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker.

The latter two were to meet with Obama on Friday as members of a transition economic advisory board.

The first family-to-be on Monday will visit the White House at the invitation of President George W. Bush.

The current and incoming presidents were scheduled to discuss the economic meltdown during the visit while their wives were to tour the presidential residence.

"I thank him (Bush) 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.

The Obamas are expected to fly to Hawaii in December to honor Obama's late grandmother who died on Sunday in Honolulu, taking a break before they begin their adventure in Washington D.C.

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