George Bush will keep his role as US President under an Obama administration, key Democratic officials are hinting. "The time for partisan rancour is over," Obama transition team co-chair John Podesta says. "President Bush has eight years of valuable experience that this nation can draw on." Democrats have so far been reluctant to assert the mandate given to them in the 4 November elections. Joe Lieberman appears likely to keep his Senate homeland security committee chairmanship, despite campaigning for John McCain. Republican defense secretary Robert Gates could remain in his post after 20 January. And former Bush secretary of state Colin Powell may be offered a position in the new Obama administration. "This administration will hold no grudges," says Podesta. "And have you seen the shit we've got to deal with? I ain't taking the heat for that."