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Bush Signs Order to Give Up White House Keys Nov. 4

I don't think he'll have to make a reservation at the Pennsylvania Avenue Motel 6, but with one flourish of his quill this morning, George W. Bush signed the executive order to turn the keys to the White House over to whoever wins the election, on Nov. 4.

Though there's always talk of lame duck-edness, not much light is shed on the fact that the government can't wait until inauguration for the new team to start. With the order today, Bush established a transition council, a move that spokeswoman Perino says, "is especially important as our nation is fighting a war, dealing with a financial crisis, and working to protect ourselves from future terrorist attacks." Congress threw $8 million toward the project.

The candidates are both gearing up to take over the lease, too, as it were. Both campaigns' transition teams are getting full background checks for the first time as well as security clearances so that they, Perino says, “make sure we give the new team everything they need so they can continue to protect the country and address our economic challenges.”

To see how this move compares historically,


Bill Clinton had a similar transition team, an effort started in modern history by Jimmy Carter. Carter wrote the book on transitioning, starting before the primary season was over — he started in early June! He wanted a Cabinet-run government and meeting early allowed them to develop extensive lists of appointments, lists, and agendas but also internal conflicts which hampered his administration from the get-go.

Does the current climate require hitting the ground running more so than it has in the past? Do you get the feeling Bush has checked out even earlier than this order might indicate?


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