President Bush wrote a private note to Mr. Obama Monday and left it in the top drawer of the "Resolute" desk in the Oval Office, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller.
The White House will only say the theme of the note is similar to what Mr. Bush has said since election night about the fabulous new chapter Mr. Obama is about to start, and that he wishes him the very best, Knoller reports.
"The theme is similar to what he's said since election night about the fabulous new chapter President-elect Obama is about to start, and that he wishes him the very best," White House press secretary Dana Perino said Tuesday.
During his last moments in the Oval Office, former President Ronald Reagan scribbled a note for his successor on a notepad with a turkey insignia that said "Don't let the turkeys get you down." He, too, slipped the note in the presidential desk for his successor, President George H.W. Bush.
Four years after that, the elder Bush left a note for President Bill Clinton. And eight years after that, Clinton wrote a note for Mr. Bush, and included a copy of the message he had received from Mr. Bush's father.
Mr. Bush's final half-day as president includes a goodbye to Washington and a hello from fellow Texans.
On Tuesday morning, the president and first lady Laura Bush will welcome Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, to the White House. The Bushes, the Obamas, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, his wife, Jill, and leaders of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies will have coffee in the Blue Room.
After the swearing-in ceremony for Mr. Obama at the Capitol, Mr. Bush will take a helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base, where he'll make private remarks inside a hangar.
The Bushes then will fly to Midland, Texas, on the familiar blue-and-white presidential aircraft, although it will be called Special Air Mission 28000 instead of Air Force One because Mr. Bush will no longer be president.
While the inauguration frenzy continues in Washington, thousands of well-wishers are expected to greet the Bushes at Centennial Plaza in Midland - the same place the president stopped on his way to the nation's capital for his own inauguration in 2001. While Mr. Bush was born in New Haven, Conn., he spent his childhood in Midland. He returned there as an adult in the 1970s and met the future first lady.
After the rally, the Bushes are flying to Waco, Texas, on their way to their 1,600-acre ranch in nearby Crawford.