Romney, Obama meet for lunch
WASHINGTON -- Bitter campaign foes just weeks ago, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney met for lunch at the White House on Thursday, sitting down with an eye on overlapping interests rather than the sharp differences that defined their presidential contest.
In their first meeting since the election, Obama and the Republican nominee met in the White House's private dining room, fulfilling a promise Obama made in his victory speech the night of Nov. 6.
Romney arrived at the White House early Thursday afternoon in a black SUV, walking into the West Wing alone. He left after staying at the White House for just over an hour.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama had no specific agenda for the meeting, but he said the president wanted to discuss Romney's ideas for making government more efficient. Obama has proposed merging some functions of government related to business and has asked Congress for authority to undertake some executive branch reorganization.
"The president noted that Gov. Romney did a terrific job running the Olympics and that that skills set lends itself to ideas that could make the federal government work better, which is a passion of the president's," Carney said.
Obama aides said they reached out to Romney's team shortly before Thanksgiving to start working on a date for the meeting. The two men were meeting alone in the White House's private dining room, with no press coverage expected.
For Romney, it was a day of closure after a hard-fought campaign.
Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who was his vice presidential running mate, met earlier in the day to talk about the pending fiscal cliff negotiations and other economic challenges facing Washington, a Ryan aide said. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the aide was not authorized to discuss the private discussions.
On a personal level, the pair discussed their families and talked about the harried 12 weeks of the general election campaign.
"I remain grateful to Gov. Romney for the honor of joining his ticket this fall, and I cherish our friendship," Ryan said in a statement after their meeting. "I'm proud of the principles and ideas we advanced during the campaign and the commitment we share to expanding opportunity and promoting economic security for American families."
Much of that debate centers on expiring tax cuts first enacted in the George W. Bush administration. Obama and Romney differed sharply during the campaign over what to do with the cuts, with the Republican pushing for them to be extended for all income earners and the president running on a pledge to let the cuts expire for families making more than $250,000 a year.
The White House sees Obama's victory as a signal that Americans support his tax proposals.
Obama and Romney's sit-down Thursday was expected to be their most extensive private meeting to date. The two men had only a handful of brief exchanges before the 2012 election.
Even after their political fates became intertwined, their interactions were largely confined to the three presidential debates.
Romney has virtually disappeared from politics following his election loss. He's spent the past three weeks largely in seclusion at his family's Southern California home. He has made no public appearances, drawing media attention only after being photographed at Disneyland in addition to stops at the movies and the gym with his wife, Ann.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Penguins not mortgaging future
- No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
- Pittsburgh’s Downtown tops ranking of small to midsized cities
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Penguins GM Rutherford not counting on Dupuis’ return
- Surgeon to examine Pirates’ Cumpton after experiencing elbow discomfort
- On remote Japanese island, cats outnumber humans
- Day of prayer at McKeesport church shines light on HIV, AIDS
- Zoning update raises fears in Ligonier Township
- Frazer police receive state funding for more undercover patrols at Mills
- Pirates special instructor Tekulve taking second chance to heart