U.S. President George Bush spent his last full day in office telephoning
world leaders, and saying his final good-byes to members of his staff.
was a day filled with nostalgia for President Bush and the people who have
served with him at the White House during his eight years in office.
Bush placed farewell telephone calls to many world leaders to thank them for
their friendship and cooperation. Among them: current and former heads of state
and government from Russia, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Denmark,
the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel and Brazil.
top aides finished packing up years of accumulated papers, photographs and
memorabilia. In the hallways and deserted offices of the executive mansion they
gathered to say good-bye.
Almost all will turn in their White House
identification badges by the time they leave work Monday. Only a few will
return Tuesday, when Mr. Bush leaves the White House with the president-elect
for the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.
Once they board their
motorcade on the north driveway, a fleet of moving vans will pull up on the
Martha Kumar, an expert on presidential transitions, says
an army of movers will go to work.
"On the south side, then, there is
going to be all the action of doing the move," said Kumar.
press secretary Dana Perino says there is no need for a big van to take away the
Bush family belongings. Most of their boxes have already been shipped to
"They did not come with a lot of things; they did not bring a lot
of furniture here. So mostly what they have are books, obviously their clothes,
and then some of the things that they have picked up along the way on their
travels as they have traveled," she said.
All of Mr. Bush's records from
his time in office will be leaving the White House as well, with most eventually
headed for his presidential library.
Martha Kumar says the Oval Office
will be cleared out immediately after he leaves the White House and prepared for
its new occupant.
"And then, in a period between noon and four o'clock,
in the Oval Office all the furniture will go out of it and then it will be
repainted, as will the offices in the West Wing," said Kumar. "And that takes
place in a period of about four hours."
By the time Barack Obama and his
family return from the Inaugural Parade, the move will be complete. Their
belongings will be all unpacked according to instructions left with the staff,
and the Obamas will find the world's most famous house has become their