Bush, Obama teams hold disaster drill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior officials in the Bush administration and members of President-elect Barack Obama’s staff teamed up at the White House Tuesday for a rehearsal of how to handle a hypothetical terrorist attack on an American city.

During the drill, they responded to a scenario in which transportation facilities and other targets were hit with improvised explosive devices. The exercise was part of an effort to smooth the transition from the Bush to Obama administrations without jeopardizing the nation’s preparedness in case of a terrorist attack, pandemic or natural disaster. The White House said it was a realistic and conceivable scenario, but was not based on any current, credible threat.

“Whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, we will have our policy differences,” Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s incoming chief of staff, told reporters outside the White House before the event. “There is no policy difference when it comes to protecting the American people.”

Current White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten said the Bush administration began consulting with both the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns last summer on a number of transition issues, and started close consultation with the Obama team after the election.

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