White House photo by Chuck Kennedy
President Barack Obama has lunch with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the patio outside the Oval Office on July 29.
For President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, friendship is what’s on today’s menu.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 29, 2013, for lunch with President Barack Obama.
The two Democrats and former rivals met for lunch Monday at the White House, spawning a frenzy of predictable media speculation about whether they might be putting their heads together about Clinton’s much-rumored 2016 run.
And - adding to that speculation - Clinton is now also scheduled to have breakfast Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden, considered a top potential rival for the Democratic nomination.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a daily briefing that the meal between Obama and Clinton was simply a chance for the two pols to pal around.
“Over the course of the last four years ... Secretary Clinton and the president have developed not just a strong working relationship, but also a genuine friendship," he said. “And so, it’s largely friendship that’s on the agenda for the lunch today. So it’s not a working lunch as much as it is an opportunity for the two, who saw each other on a pretty frequent basis for the past four years, to get a chance to catch up.”
Earnest added that the president invited Clinton to the meal, calling its purpose “chiefly social.”
The menu includes grilled chicken, pasta jambalaya and salad.
But -- while the meeting likely featured more conversation about strategies for Egypt and Syria than strategies for New Hampshire and Iowa -- this meal between a current commander in chief and a potential 2016 White House contender has fueled both enthusiasm and opposition for the former secretary of state.
Clinton, who left the State Department in February, has been delivering speeches around the country since departing the top diplomatic post.
While she’s been mum about her future presidential plans, top Democrats -- from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- have offered vocal support for a Clinton run. A pro-Clinton super PAC called “Ready for Hillary” has united veterans of both the Clinton and Obama political operations.
And an opposition group, dubbed Stop Hillary PAC, is also ramping up its efforts, even as the earliest presidential nominating contests are still well more than two years away.
First published July 29 2013, 10:25 AM