Page last updated at 00:09 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Obama vows to 'work with' McCain

Barack Obama and John McCain at their first meeting since the election

US President-elect Barack Obama and his former rival John McCain have vowed to work together in a "new era of reform" to restore trust in government.

Meeting for the first time since this month's election, they pledged to take a bipartisan approach on critical issues such as the US financial crisis.

Mr McCain said he "obviously" planned to help Mr Obama's administration.

But neither man offered any hint of a specific future position for Mr McCain outside his current role in the Senate.

While the president-elect has said he will include Republicans in his cabinet, it is not thought his former rival is among the likely candidates, says the BBC's James Coomarasamy in Washington.

But, our correspondent adds, Mr Obama's attempts to forge a bi-partisan consensus on key issues partly rest with the man he defeated so convincingly at the polls on 5 November.

'Critical challenges'

The two men met at the Chicago offices of Mr Obama's transition team.

We hope to work together... on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and protecting our nation's security
Barack Obama and John McCain

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, they said they had shared a "productive conversation" about the need to "launch a new era of reform".

"We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and protecting our nation's security," their statement continued.

After the meeting the two men sat briefly for the cameras.

Although neither gave much away, Mr McCain's track record of working with Democrats on issues from climate change to immigration makes him a key figure in the new, Democratically-controlled Washington, says our correspondent.

The Arizona senator's influence could be vital if Mr Obama wants to push his ambitious plans through the Senate, correspondents say.

Before the meeting, Mr Obama told reporters he intended to "offer thanks to Senator McCain for the outstanding service he's already rendered".

Also present during their discussion were Rahm Emanuel, who is to be Mr Obama's White House chief of staff, and Senator Lindsey Graham, an ally of Mr McCain.

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