Mitt Romney made his way to the White House on Thursday, but not in the manner he had hoped for when he started campaigning for president almost six years ago.
Romney and President Obama had a private lunch at the White House dining room—the first time the two have met face to face since the final presidential debate this fall.
They discussed America’s global leadership over an hour-long lunch of white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad, according to the White House. The governor congratulated the president on his successful campaign and the pair pledged to stay in touch, the White House release stated.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated there was no agenda for the meeting.
Before his lunch date with the president, Romney met with his former running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan. ”Nice to see him in person again,” Ryan told NBC News following his 90-minute-long meeting with Romney. “It had been a while. You know over the course of the campaign we got to be really close friends.”
Romney told reporters it’s ”always great to see Paul Ryan.”
Obama name-checked his former opponent in his acceptance speech earlier this month, saying he looked forward to sitting down with Romney to talk about “where we can work together to move this country forward.”And in a press conference weeks ago, the president tipped his hat to Romney’s record, saying the former Massachusetts governor did a “terrific job running the Olympics” in 2002.
“There are certain aspects of Governor Romney’s record and his ideas that I think could be very helpful,” Obama said at the time. “What I want to do is to get ideas from him and see if there are some ways that we can potentially work together.”
The last time the public heard in any detail from the defeated presidential candidate came when Romney, on a conference call with supporters, blamed his loss on the ”gifts” President Obama gave to minorities, youths, and women voters.
Top Romney adviser Stuart Stevens appeared to have doubled down on Romney’s “gifts” remarks Wednesday with an op-ed (reminiscent of the candidate’s other infamous comments on the 47%), which bragged that the campaign won young white voters and Americans making more than $50,000 annually.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the former Massachusetts governor was moving into an office space at his son’s Boston-based venture capital firm, Solamere Capital. His role in the company—founded by his son, Tagg Romney, and Spencer Zwick—remains unclear.