Hillary and Barack Have Lunch at the White House

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have lunch at the White House, July 29, 2013

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have lunch at the White House, July 29, 2013

Good Afternoon!!

Tongues are wagging in Washington over President Obama inviting Hillary Clinton to lunch today. The White House announced that “the purpose of the lunch is chiefly social,” but pundits suspect the two may have been discussing Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016.

The New York Times speculated:

Hillary Rodham Clinton has walked the halls of the White House as the first lady, a senator and the secretary of state. On Monday, she is returning as a former diplomat — who might just want one more job.

Mrs. Clinton is back at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a private lunch with President Obama, a meeting that the White House said was decidedly closed to the press.

Given Mrs. Clinton’s last job and the turmoil around the world, it seems likely that the two will talk about the situation in Egypt, the emerging peace talks in the Middle East and the diplomatic battle over Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American intelligence contractor.

But it is possible they may chat about politics as well, in particular whether Mrs. Clinton will run for president again in 2016.

NBC News emphasized the President and former Secretary of State’s close friendship as the reason for today’s get-together.

The two Democrats and former rivals met for lunch Monday in a private dining room 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.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a daily briefing that the meal is 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.”

Hillary Clinton arrives for lunch at the White House, July 29, 2013.

Hillary Clinton arrives for lunch at the White House, July 29, 2013.

The Christian Science Monitor offers more detailed speculation about what the two may have discussed over their “grilled chicken, pasta jambalaya and salad.” CSM’s Linda Feldman offers three theories:

First, Obama could be giving Clinton input on her future political plans.

How can Mr. Obama help her decide? He can bring her up to speed on what presidential politics are like in the age of 24/7 social media – already a factor in 2007 and 2008, but not like today – and 24/7 political coverage. Remember, Politico launched on Jan. 23, 2007, just three days after Clinton announced she was forming an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign. Now Politico (and BuzzFeed and all the other new politically obsessed sites) is a force to be reckoned with. No tidbit is too small.

Second, maybe Obama wanted to pick Clinton’s brain on foreign policy.

Obama certainly has a full plate, and Clinton can obviously speak knowledgeably about the range of issues he faces – Egypt, Syria, Russia, Edward Snowden, the Keystone XL pipeline, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that begin in Washington Monday evening. John Kerry, of course, is now Obama’s secretary of State, and Clinton’s task as a “former” is to be quiet and let the new guy do his job. Thus a closed-press lunch meeting is the perfect forum for discussion, away from the cameras.

One more topic on foreign policy: The issue of Benghazi – the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on US diplomatic facilities in the Libyan city that left four Americans dead, including the ambassador – is still a thorn in Obama’s side. And it happened on Clinton’s watch, making it fodder for political opponents in a second Clinton presidential campaign.

Third, maybe they just wanted to hang out.

To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes a lunch is just a lunch. Maybe it’s just two friends breaking bread together, catching up on how they and their families are doing. Obama’s daughters are growing up – Malia is a teenager, and Sasha is almost there – and Clinton has experience raising a teenage girl in the White House. How did the Clintons handle all the normal teen issues – clothes, makeup, boys, parties, driving?

What do you think they talked about? This is an open thread, of course.

A few more headlines that  might catch your fancy:

LA Times: FBI raids rescue 105 teens who were forced into prostitution (Catching criminals like this involves {Gasp!} electronic surveillance!)

CBS News: Verdict near in Bradley Manning trial–judge could decide by Tuesday.

CBC News: Pope Francis says he won’t judge gays–but homosexual acts are sinful, and women can’t be priests because Jesus’ apostles were men. Except for Mary Magdalene, who was erased by the church hierarchy way back when. And of course women are still baby machines.

USA Today reports on another horrible train crash in Europe–this time in Switzerland.

The Guardian reports on another Chinese factory producing Apple products. Conditions for 70,000 workers at Pegatron plants allegedly worse than those reported in the Foxconn scandal


14 Comments on “Hillary and Barack Have Lunch at the White House”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I just love that photo! They do look like good friends.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    FYI: The FBI’s Innocence Lost Initiative began in 2003. Some of these cases are very complex and they sometimes involve people in foreign countries communicating with Americans electronically. There was a big child porn bust a few months ago that involved a man in Boston who was communicating with someone in Germany who was abusing children he babysat for and selling the video around the world. I haven’t been able to find the link yet, but will keep looking.

    http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013/july/operation-cross-country-recovering-victims-of-child-sex-trafficking/operation-cross-country-recovering-victims-of-child-sex-trafficking

    http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2008/june/innocencelost_062508

  3. Ray Plenty says:

    Standing by the man who called her a pig wearing lipstick. I bet she baked him cookies and teas…

    • bostonboomer says:

      Actually, that was Sarah Palin moron. Now why don’t you go play in traffic.

    • They’re sitting, maybe you should get your eyes checked–and actually catch up with the political winds, it’s Standing with Women season, Oprecious is standing by her… but hey go brew some tea and dump it in the Boston Harbor and whine about taxation with representation…

  4. I’m SO GLAD you covered this, BB. I saw this earlier in the week and thought it was huge news. Your instincts are spot-on in my books. I think this summer is just really hot and sticky and allergy-provoking and yuck… hopefully 2014 election cycle (WENDY! WENDY! WENDY!…) will drive more political blogosphere activity