Obama, McCain to meet Monday to talk cooperation

CHICAGO (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama will meet with his former rival, Republican Sen. John McCain, on Monday to talk about ways they can work together, an Obama spokeswoman said on Friday.

The meeting between the former competitors will take place in Chicago at Obama’s transition headquarters two weeks after the Democratic senator won a decisive victory over McCain in the November 4 election.

It will be the first time the two have spoken since McCain called Obama to concede the election. McCain gave an emotional speech after the concession in which he promised to help his former rival address the country’s many challenges.

“It’s well known that they share an important belief that Americans want and deserve a more effective and efficient government, and will discuss ways to work together to make that a reality,” said Obama’s transition spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter.

She said the two men would be accompanied by McCain’s close friend, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

Another Obama spokeswoman said the Obama and McCain teams had been in touch “for a while” to work out a time for the men to meet.

“There are many issues they have in common,” said spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

She cited climate change and ethics reform as two areas the men might work on cooperating.

McCain, a 72-year-old Arizona senator, last week urged all Americans, including his supporters, to rally behind Obama.

“It’s natural, tonight, to feel some disappointment,” McCain said on November 4 in his concession speech. “But tomorrow, we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again,” he told his supporters, shushing them occasionally when they booed his mentions of Obama.

McCain and Obama clashed over the Iraq war, taxes, trade and energy policy during the heated, five-month general election campaign.

Reporting by Deborah Charles; Editing by Eric Beech