An Economic Transition, A Political Dance

Obama and Bush navigate the politics of fixing economy during transition.

ByABC News
November 24, 2008, 3:55 PM

Nov. 25, 2008— -- One of them needs to assure the American people that he's still in charge of navigating a massive financial crisis during his final months in office. The other needs to convey that he's gearing up to help fix it while making sure he's not technically calling the shots.

A transition from a Republican administration to a Democratic one is already a fragile dance, but even more so when the nation's economy needs an immediate pick-me-up at the exact same time.

"What you're going to see in the next 48 hours is a continuity," Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland, told "We're going to really learn that the Obama administration and the Bush administration are not much different when it comes to banking policy and economy policy."

Both President-elect Barack Obama and outgoing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson plan to speak Tuesday about the nation's finances. Both President Bush and Obama also spoke publicly Monday to assuage concerns over the deepening economic crisis, and pledge cooperation during the presidential transition.

"I've asked my economic team to develop recommendations for this plan and to consult with Congress, the current administration, and the Federal Reserve on immediate economic developments over the next two months," Obama said at a Monday press conference set up to introduce his economic team.

"I've requested that they brief me on these matters on a daily basis," Obama continued.

Speaking on the steps of the Treasury Department Monday alongside Paulson, Bush, too, said the incoming and outgoing administrations are working together. He said he'd talked to Obama about the government's rescue of Citigroup.

"I told the American people and I told the president-elect when I first met him that anytime we were to make a big decision during this transition, he will be informed, as will his team," Bush said. "Secretary Paulson's working closely with the president-elect's transition team, and it's important for the American people to know that there is close cooperation."

"I don't think he wants to be seen as trying to upstage Obama, so I would assume this was coordinated," Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economics and Policy Research, told