After bitter race, Obama, Romney have ‘friendly lunch’

Obama and Romney promise talk about America's challenges in a private lunch meeting at the White House

'STAY IN TOUCH.' US President Barack Obama and his former Republican rival Mitt Romney promise to "stay in touch" after sitting down for a friendly lunch at the White House. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

MANILA, Philippines – There was no talk of “Romnesia” or the controversial 47%.

Away from the vitriol of presidential campaigns and the prying eyes of the press, US President Barack Obama and his former Republican challenger Mitt Romney got together in what aides call a “very friendly lunch.”

Romney and Obama chatted for about 90 minutes in a dining room in the White House on Thursday, November 29, reported Time.

On the menu was white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad while on the agenda was America’s leadership in the world.

“Gov Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming 4 years,” the White House said in a statement.

“They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise.”

The White House has said that Obama had no specific agenda in mind for the meeting but wanted to discuss Romney’s ideas for making government more efficient.

“Each man wanted to have a private conversation,” said White House Spokesman Jay Carney. “They didn’t want to turn it into a press event.”

Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said, “They spoke about some of the big challenges facing America, and it gave Gov Romney the opportunity to personally congratulate President Obama for the success of his campaign.”

‘Not enough following in GOP’

The meeting was largely seen as a symbolic close to the presidential race, and a fulfillment of Obama’s promise on election night to sit down with Romney.

Time reported that it was the two leaders’ “most extensive private meeting,” following a few brief exchanges before the polls and interactions limited to debates during the campaign.

Yet the meeting was not expected to produce any meaningful results, according to The Huffington Post.

“[Republican officials] said that while Romney was the face of the GOP for much of the year, he did not command enough following among the party’s passionate voters or chattering class to maintain a leadership role going forward.”

Romney has maintained a low profile following his loss. Reports said he has largely been in seclusion in his Southern California home and made no public appearances.

In contrast, Romney’s running mate Rep Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is still a player on Capitol Hill amid fiscal cliff negotiations.

Romney met with Ryan before his lunch with Obama. – Rappler.com