Before the Oath: How George W. Bush and Barack Obama Managed a Transfer of Power
by Martha Joynt Kumar
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015
WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Using the transition between Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Kumar explores what it takes to transfer power from one commander in chief to the next. (Spoiler alert: Picking out new furniture for the East Wing is the least of it.) Kumar looks at what past presidents did and how the process has evolved. Through interviews with transition officials, analyses of legislation, and information culled from numerous other sources, she details the extensive steps that Bush and Obama took to guarantee a smooth transition of power between them and how those steps paid off in Obama's first 100 days in the Oval Office. Among the major revelations: In the final days of the Bush administration, Obama's and Bush's teams cooperated remarkably closely on policy matters related to combating terrorism and the financial collapse. In other words, "'one president at a time' is more a truism than a reality," writes Kumar.
TARGET D.C. AUDIENCE
Advance teams; historians; bureaucrats; post-2009 White House staffers; presidential campaigns; journalists mulling "measuring the drapes" stories.
"Before President Bush involved the Obama and McCain camps, only President Truman had called for the early pre-election participation of both candidates and then he envisioned separate meetings."