As he prepared to enter the White House the next day, President-elect Barack Obama observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day by lending a hand at a shelter for homeless teenagers and visiting wounded vets at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, outgoing President Bush reached out to several other world leaders to say his farewells.


The New York Times:

It was a call to service not unlike that issued by another young American leader, President John F. Kennedy, though perhaps with added resonance because of Obama’s experience as a community organizer working with the jobless and needy on the South Side of Chicago.

In late morning, Obama arrived at the Sasha Bruce House, said to be the only emergency shelter for homeless teens in Washington. Television showed him doffing his overcoat and rolling up the sleeves of his white shirt — which he wore tieless, and with an open collar — before helping paint a wall shades of blue, using a roller with an extension handle. He chatted easily with the young people, and at one point appeared to bend over to tie a shoe.

President George W. Bush, during his last full day in office, spoke by phone to several world leaders. The White House said that he chatted with the leaders of Russia, Georgia, Italy, Denmark, South Korea, Israel, Brazil, Japan and Britain. He also spoke to Vicente Fox, the former Mexican president. It was not clear whether he would make other calls.

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