President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain said Monday that Americans are looking for leaders who will come together and "change the bad habits of Washington." In a joint statement issued after their first meeting since the presidential election, the former rivals said they hoped to work together on challenges such as the financial crisis, creating a new energy economy and protecting the country's security.
"At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time," the statement said.
"It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family," they said.
Asked whether he would help Obama with his administration, McCain responded, "Obviously."
The meeting comes as Obama is trying to fill out his Cabinet with the most capable people and show he can reach across party lines.
They were joined Monday by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.
Obama last week met with two former rivals for the Democratic nomination -- Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gov. Bill Richardson -- about the secretary of state position in his administration, sources told CNN.
"I think it shows Barack Obama's a bigger man than most people in the sense that he's willing to take the person who gave him a real race for his money into his Cabinet," he said.
Republicans have praised the prospect of Clinton becoming secretary of state.
Henry Kissinger, who was secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations, said Clinton would be an "outstanding" selection, Bloomberg News reported.
Forty-three percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday morning are very confident that Obama will make the right choices, with 34 percent somewhat confident and only 23 percent not confident.
"Obama is having the kind of honeymoon that no president-elect has had in at least 30 years," said CNN polling director Keating Holland. "It's no surprise that Americans have a positive view of anything Obama might do -- at least until he does something controversial."
Asked which appointment will matter the most to the country's future, 41 percent said the secretary of the treasury; 25 percent said secretary of state; 24 percent, secretary of defense; and 8 percent named the attorney general.
Peter Rouse, Obama's chief of staff in his Senate office, will serve as a senior adviser to the president.
Mona Sutphen will serve as a deputy chief of staff. Sutphen is a member of the transition team staff and has been managing director of Stonebridge International LLC, an international strategic consulting firm based in Washington.
Jim Messina was also named a deputy chief of staff. Messina is currently the director of personnel for the president-elect's transition team. He served as a national chief of staff for Obama's presidential campaign.
Also, a longtime friend of the Obamas, Valerie Jarrett, was officially named Saturday as a senior adviser to the incoming president. Obama, in a statement released Saturday morning by his transition staff, announced that Jarrett will serve as senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and public liaison. Jarrett is currently co-chair of Obama's transition team and was senior adviser for his presidential campaign.
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