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Bush sets up team to aid successor

Bush signed an executive order creating a "Presidential Transition Coordinating Council" comprising key national security and economic policy aides to help whomever succeeds him "hit the ground running."

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US President George W. Bush on Thursday created a special team to help whomever succeeds him "hit the ground running" when they get the keys to the White House on January 20, the White House said.

"It has probably never been more critical that a transition from an administration from one to the next is as seamless as possible. Our nation is at war. We are dealing with a financial crisis. And we are trying to protect ourselves from terrorist attacks," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Bush signed an executive order creating a "Presidential Transition Coordinating Council" led by White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and comprising key national security and economic policy aides.

The order, released by the White House, says the team will help the major White House rivals, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, so that the winner of the November 4 election easily moves into the White House.

"It shall be the policy of the Council to provide appropriate information and assistance to the major party candidates on an equal basis and without regard for party affiliation," the order says.

"One of the things that this transition team will do is make sure that the next team has what they need, the information that they require, so that they can hit the ground running on January 20th," said Perino.

The White House has been in touch with both candidates' transition teams over the past few months and has worked, among other things, on easing security clearances for top aides on both sides.

The new council will hold its first meeting October 15.
  

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