President-Elect Barack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain have met face-to-face for the first time since the US presidential election.
The former rivals share a common policy approach in several areas. Analysts say there may even be room for McCain in Obama’s bi-partisan government:
“Just going to have a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country. And also to offer thanks to Senator McCain for the outstanding service he has already rendered,” Obama told reporters.
Also present at the meeting were Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s choice for White House chief of staff, and Senator Lindsey Graham, an ally of McCain.
However, one area where the two politicians do differ is Iraq. Obama has indicated he wants the 150,000 US troops out by mid 2010, even earlier than the security pact agreed between Washington and Baghdad on Sunday.
There has been strong opposition to the agreement from hardline nationalists, particularly the anti-American supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr, who tried unsuccessfully to prevent the text’s first reading to the Iraqi parliament on Monday.