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From political rivals to Monday morning quarterbacks

  • Story Highlights
  • Obama and McCain meet Monday for the first time since last debate
  • The former rivals talked policy, coming together and even football
  • Asked if he's willing to help Obama in office, McCain said "obviously"
  • Next Article in Politics »
By Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent
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CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- While they're not exactly buddies, President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain came together Monday to discuss the future of the country -- and maybe even try to quell some of the tension from the campaign trail.

The meeting took place at the Obama transition headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. The press pool was able to capture a snippet of their conversation.

At one point, the two -- dealing with a somewhat long silence in the room -- turned the topic to football.

"I noticed that yesterday's football game ..." McCain said.

Obama responded, "Oh see. There ... they brought up the [Chicago] Bears."

Obama went on about how the Bears lost by 34 points Sunday, though he deflected it with a compliment about the quarterback on McCain's favorite team -- the Arizona Cardinals:

"[Kurt] Warner's turned out to be unbelievable."

McCain replied, "turned out to be quite a performer." Video Watch more on the meeting »

If the performance was viewed as forced, let's not forget it was their first face-to-face since the final debate in New York when McCain got aggressive about Obama's ties to 1960s radical Bill Ayers.

"You launched your political campaign in Mr. Ayers' living room," McCain charged.

Obama responded: "That's absolutely not true."

What is true: Both men need to bury the hatchet. McCain can't return to the Senate a sore loser. Obama wants to show his talk about bipartisanship is for real.

"Just going to have a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country and also to offer thanks to Sen. McCain for the outstanding service he's already rendered," Obama said at Monday's meeting.

Asked if he's willing to help the incoming president, McCain said "obviously" -- though people close to both men insist that will not include an actual Cabinet post.

There are limits apparently to the concept of a "Team of Rivals" -- just as there are limits to the incoming presidents.

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Patience with reporters' shouted questions about auto bailouts and such got shot down.

"Thanks guys ... you're incorrigible," a smiling Obama said.

CNN political producer Ed Hornick contributed to this report.

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