Obama 'will close Guantanamo Bay'

In his first major interview since polling day, President-elect Barack Obama said last night that upon taking office he would close Guantanamo Bay and ban torture by the American military. He also said it would be "a disaster" if the US car industry were to collapse in the midst of today's economic crisis.

Mr Obama provided America with a glimpse of both the problems his administration will face and the bipartisan tone he intends to adopt once he takes office. The President-elect, joined by his wife, Michelle, discussed his priorities and the impact of the election on his family.

His first priority, he said, was appointing a new national security team to ensure a smooth transition to power. But the wide-ranging interview focused largely on the threats to the US economy. "It's my belief that we need to provide assistance to the auto industry," Mr Obama told CBS's 60 minutes, adding "But I think that it can't be a blank check."

The Senate, which he resigned from yesterday, is expected to vote this week on emergency loans to the beleaguered car industry, despite stiff opposition from Republicans.

Mr Obama meets his defeated rival, John McCain, today for the first time since crossing swords in the debates that punctuated their occasionally ill-tempered election battle. The meeting in Chicago is billed as an attempt to usher in a new era of bipartisanship, a frequent refrain of Mr Obama's on the campaign trail.

Unlike Mr Obama's other former rival, Hillary Clinton, who is among the top contenders for Secretary of State, Senator McCain is not being considered for a formal role in the administration. Advisers say he will be asked for help on issues where they share common ground, including climate change, ethics reform, immigration and torture.

That bipartisan mood between the former rivals may be tested if Mr McCain opposes a taxpayer bailout of Detroit. The new bill would allow some of the $700bn (£350bn) fund to bail out the financial services industry to be used to rescue the car industry.

Mr Obama said he wants the aid to ensure there is a sustainable car industry, "so that we are creating a bridge loan to somewhere as opposed to a bridge loan to nowhere. And that's, I think, what you haven't yet seen."

On the broader economy he said "the challenges that we're confronting are enormous, and they're multiple. And so there are times during the course of a given a day where you think, 'Where do I start in terms of moving – moving things forward?'

"And part of this next two months is to really get a clear set of priorities, understanding we're not going be able to do everything at once, making sure the team is in place, and moving forward in a very deliberate way and sending a clear signal to the American people that we're going to be thinking about them and what they're going through."

Mr Obama published a farewell letter to newspapers in Illinois to accompany his formal resignation of his Senate seat. He compared himself with Abraham Lincoln, "another son of Illinois" who had left for Washington, "a greater man who spoke to a nation far more divided".

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Junior Developer- CSS, HMTL, Bootstrap

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading company within the healthcare ...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz