Talking Transitions: Perspectives for First-term and Second-term Administrations

The Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition will host a virtual event on presidential transitions in association with the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, the Clinton Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Obama Foundation, and UVA’s Miller Center on Friday, October 2, 2020.

This nonpartisan event focused on the importance of a safe and effective presidential transition to first-term and second-term administrations and featured perspectives on transition planning, managing transitions during crises, and the complexities of shifting from campaigning to governing.

For more information on this event and the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition, please visit

Event Summary

10:00–10:15 a.m. EDT: Welcome and Overview

  • David Marchick, Director, Center for Presidential Transition
  • Penny Pritzker, Secretary, Department of Commerce (2013–17)

10:15–11:05 a.m. EDT: Panel 1: White House Perspectives on Administration Transition Planning.

Former White House chiefs of staff will share their experiences preparing to take office, transitioning to a second term, planning to leave office, and what to expect in 2020–2021.

  • ModeratorMargaret Brennan, Face the Nation Moderator and Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent, CBS News
  • Joshua Bolten, Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush (2006–09)
  • Andrew H. Card, Jr., Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush (2001–06)
  • Denis McDonough, Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama (2013–17)
  • Mack McLarty, Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton (1993–94)

11:05–11:55 a.m. EDT: Panel 2: Transitions for Unprecedented Times.

Panelists will look at why this transition period could be the most important and consequential since 1932 and how previous crises such as the 2008 global financial crisis, national security threats, and the early impacts of the current pandemic might serve as a roadmap for 2020.

  • ModeratorMelody Barnes, Director, Domestic Policy Council (2009–12)
  • Stephen J. Hadley, National Security Advisor (2005–09)
  • Lisa Monaco, White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor (2013–17)
  • John Podesta, Counselor to President Barack Obama (2014–15) and Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton (1998–01)
  • Barbara A. Perry, Gerald L. Baliles Professor and Director of Presidential Studies, UVA’s Miller Center

11:55–12:45 p.m. EDT: Panel 3: The Transition from Campaigning to Governing.

During campaigns, candidates focus on policies and make promises to the American people. Governing requires a different focus and the preparations to take office are not always visible to the public. Panelists will discuss how a president-elect and his team make the shift from campaigning to governing—to a first or second term.

  • ModeratorAmy Walter, National Editor, Cook Political Report and Host, Politics with Amy Walter on WNYC’s The Takeaway
  • Alexis Herman, Secretary, Department of Labor (1997–01)
  • Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and Director, White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs (2009–17)
  • Karen Hughes, Counselor to President George W. Bush (2001–02)
  • Margaret Spellings, Secretary, Department of Education (2005–09)

Closing Remarks and Final Observations

  • William Antholis, Director and CEO, UVA’s Miller Center

Presidential Transitions Partners