Neither the White House nor President-elect Barack Obama have yet weighed in on today's series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India, the first major terrorist incident since Obama’s election.
At least 78 people were killed and 200 injured when gunmen opened fire in a Mumbai train station, a crowded restaurant and a series of hotels, according to reports. An Indian state official indicated that the death toll is likely to rise. Some early reports indicate that Westerners were the primary targets.
Bush has said he would consult Obama on an major decisions and White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Tuesday that the outgoing and incoming presidents are in frequent contact.
The White House signaled earlier this month that it was concerned that such an attack may take place on American soil during the transition. Perino said that “we know that Al Qaeda and others try to test a new administration.”
“I don't know of anything specific,” she added, “but we do know that this is just a heightened period of concern.”
Perino was echoing Vice President-elect Joe Biden, who caught flack for a similar statement on the campaign trail.
“Watch,” Biden said. “We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
Republican presidential nominee seized on those comments as proof that Obama was not prepared to be commander in chief.
Both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush faced domestic terrorist attacks within their first year, but not during the transition.