Ready to Govern: Improving the Presidential Transition
To provide a framework for the future, the Partnership for Public Service examined the 2008-2009 presidential transition, including the pre-election period, the phase between the election and the inauguration, and President Barack Obama’s first year in office. We interviewed a number of key players from the George W. Bush White House and the transition teams of Obama and Republican presidential candidate John McCain. We studied the public record, talked to outside experts and interviewed officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the General Services Administration (GSA), which handles office space and logistics for the president-elect.
This report recounts many of the 2008-2009 presidential transition activities, includes observations from the participants, and identifies notable successes and shortcomings. Based on our study, we propose a series of legislative changes to the Presidential Transition Act, and we highlight some best practices that could be employed in future transitions by the White House and presidential campaigns.