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WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama and erstwhile Republican opponent Mitt Romney met for a private lunch yesterday at the White House as they tried to move on from a bitterly personal election campaign.
In their first encounter since the election, the former foes sat down alone in the president’s private dining room off the Oval Office, which, until his defeat on November 6, Romney had envisioned taking over in January. The meeting was closed to the press, and Romney, now stripped of his Secret Service detail, arrived and left an hour and twenty minutes later, in a large black Lincoln car, from a side door of the West Wing, avoiding reporters.
“Governor Romney congratulated the president for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said after the rivals lunched on white turkey chili and southwestern grilled chicken salad.
“The focus of their discussion was on America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. “They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future.” There was a moment of drama for Romney as his motorcade approached the White House when a man approached the vehicles and was then arrested after he started arguing with Secret Service officers. AFP