The two men had planned a joint announcement today at 11 a.m. EST regarding the new organic vegetable garden on the White House grounds. As journalists approached the section of the South Lawn designated for the announcement, they heard raised voices from Bush and Obama, and could make out a few words.
"Double-digging? Man, this is the 21st century!"
"That's how I do it on my ranch and I won a blue ribbon for pole beans!"
The press conference was abruptly cancelled. Although photographers were rushed away before they could take pictures, they did see the two men struggling over a shovel.
The transition between the administrations had gone smoothly, beginning with the cordial reception the Obamas received on their first visit to the White House, but has now hit an ugly patch.
Reliable sources from the West Wing and the Obama team say they are working toward a reconciliation in time for the inauguration ceremony on January 20, and are considering various intermediaries. Jimmy Carter may be brought in, and it is expected that internationally-known gardening expert Penelope Hobhouse will arrive from England within a few hours.
On Inauguration Day the President-elect and Mrs. Obama will have coffee at the White House before they are driven to the Capitol with the President and First Lady. Conversation is sure to be strained and there are hopes that sensitive subjects, such as the probable date of the last frost in Washington, D.C., can be avoided.