On the way out, it's Bush the statesman





With just 70 days left as president, Bush is pretty much out of time to alter public perception of his performance. He cannot get a Middle East peace deal, or turn around a failing economy, or rekindle broad support for the war in Iraq. But leaving on good terms? Now that he can control.

So on Monday at the White House, Bush warmly welcomed Obama, whose dominant win last week was largely seen as a referendum on the Bush years.

The two leaders spent more than an hour discussing domestic and foreign policy in the Oval Office. And then Bush gave Obama a personal tour all around.

The world saw video images that were replayed all day and night: Bush and first lady Laura Bush greeting Obama and his wife, Michelle, as if they were old friends; Bush strolling with the president-elect along the famous Colonnade adjacent to the Rose Garden, both men waving and smiling.

Translation: Smooth transition.

The scene was the latest in a flurry of moves by Bush, all designed to show he is serious about making Obama's start a success on Jan. 20.

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