Barack Obama and the former Republican nominee spent more than an hour at the White House discussing their ideas for keeping the United States competitive in a changing world.
The discussion focused on “America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future,” an insider told reporters. Romney also congratulated Obama for his second term.
The White House said: “They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.”
The U.S. president also noted that Romney’s “skills-set” could help improve the workings of the federal government, but he made no job offer for the defeated rival.
The meeting was absolutely opposite to the previous one when both candidates met a month ago for their final presidential debate, before the tense final days of the campaign and the Romney concession call, Politico writes.
The meeting was closed to press — even a brief foray into the room was forbidden for news photographers. Which is more, access was limited to what the White House chose to release after the meeting.
“Each man wanted to have a private conversation. They didn’t want to turn it into a press event,” White House press secretary Jay Carney explained during his Thursday briefing, which took place as Obama and Romney were meeting.
Obama and the former Massachusetts governor discussed maintaining the country’s leading role going forward in domestic and foreign policy. Part of that discussion was devoted to the innovation economy.
Mr Romney was smiling as he entered the White House just before 12:30, after climbing out of the front seat of a black SUV.
The former candidate was still smiling when crossing the West Wing. According to insiders, Romney was wearing a gray suit and blue striped tie. No staffers or friends followed him into the building.
Barack Obama first expressed his willingness to meet with Romney on election night, following the example of the meeting he and Sen. John McCain had soon after the 2008 election.
The re-elected president elaborated at his post-election press conference, saying that Romney “ presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with” and that it would be “interesting to talk to him about something like that.”
Obama aide Jim Messina contacted Republican’s campaign manager Matt Rhoades soon after the election to set up the meeting, suggesting Nov. 29 and Romney agreed.
By the way, Mitt Romney hasn’t become an exception as like any visitor of the White House he was asked to provide his Social Security number, birth date and other personal information to gain access to the grounds.
Thursday saw the news that Romney had breakfast with his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan at a hotel not far from the White House. After the meeting, Ryan released a statement thanking Romney for putting him on the ticket.
“I remain grateful to Governor Romney for the honor of joining his ticket this fall, and I cherish our friendship,” Ryan said.
“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,” he added.