Obama, Hillary Clinton sit down to lunch
Hillary Clinton and President Obama meet for lunch on Monday, July 29, 2013. (Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy)
July 29th, 2013
02:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama, Hillary Clinton sit down to lunch

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET on 7/29

(CNN) – As the nation's top diplomat, Hillary Clinton used to be a regular presence at the White House, but since leaving her post as secretary of state earlier this year, Clinton has been busy delivering speeches and launching her post-government initiatives.

On Monday, however, Clinton made a return to the building for lunch with President Barack Obama.

Plenty of issues – ranging from health care to Middle East peace talks – could have been conversation starters for the pair, though on Monday, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said it was "largely friendship that's on the agenda for the lunch today."

"Much has been written about over the last four years how Secretary Clinton and the president have developed not just a strong working relationship, but also a genuine friendship," Earnest said, adding the lunch was an "opportunity for the two, who saw each other on a pretty frequent basis over the course of the last four years, to have the chance to catch up."

Clinton will also meet with Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday at his residence, the Naval Observatory, Clinton aides, as well as a White House official, told CNN. One person with knowledge said the meeting was "long scheduled."

As for her Monday meeting with Obama, Earnest said the president invited Clinton to the lunch, which had grilled chicken, pasta jambalaya and salad on the menu.

Current Secretary of State John Kerry was spotted arriving at the White House around the same time as Clinton, though Earnest said he believed Kerry did not join his predecessor and Obama for the lunchtime meeting. Clinton, however, did stop by to say hello while Kerry met with National Security Adviser Susan Rice, according to Clinton aides.

The White House is preparing for Middle East peace negotiations in Washington Monday night, and Earnest indicated it was more than possible that the talks could have come up come during the meal.

"The purpose of the lunch was chiefly social, but given that the president and Secretary Clinton worked on this pretty closely together over the course of the last four years, I'd be surprised if they didn't," he said.

According to Clinton aides, the lunch came together when Obama and Clinton saw each other at the George W. Bush Presidential Center dedication ceremony in April, where Obama and former President Bill Clinton gave brief remarks. With the president and the former secretary of state having busy schedules this summer, July 29th became the agreed upon date, the aides said.

Former rivals during their marathon battle for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Obama and Clinton forged what most parties say was a strong working relationship during her years at the State Department. Since her departure, the pair met for dinner at the White House along with her husband, and for the dedication of the Bush library in Texas.

Clinton, a potential candidate for the White House in 2016, has spent her months post-State appearing at events focused on women's empowerment, as well as maintaining a healthy roster of paid speaking engagements.

She launched an initiative through the Clinton Foundation dedicated to early childhood development, and signed a book deal in April for a diplomacy-centered memoir to be released in 2014.

CNN's Jessica Yellin, Kevin Liptak and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • President Obama
soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. kirk

    Usually a book.deal means no more public office. She could win with the women vote

    July 29, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I'm sure everything from Egypt, Mid-East peace talks & 2016 will be discussed. The biggest political news I've seen over the weekend was the Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Grimes' ad going at Mitch McConnell. Can you say "Shot Fired?" You better be scared Mitch. You better be very scared!!!

    July 29, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  3. jimmyjo

    Wow. They met for lunch? Stop the presses! News much?

    July 29, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  4. kirk

    Asked if she would like to watch the gop bloodbath next spring... sure I will bring the popcorn

    July 29, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  5. Data Driven

    "No other details of the pair's meeting were provided, though plenty of issues – ranging from health care to Middle East peace talks – could be conversation starters"

    In other words, you don't have a story.

    Let us know when you do.

    July 29, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  6. leah

    Not unusual. Good to see these two working together. And good to see Hilary working for women's issues, women being 52% of registered voters.

    July 29, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. DC Observer

    The last thing we need is Bill Clinton running around the White House as the "First man" assaulting all the female interns.

    As for Obama's latest road shows and fiery speeches, if the President really wanted to get something done for the country, he would be back in DC sitting down with republicans in private doing some serious fence mending and negotiating. But, Obama likes to make fiery partisan speeches. I mean common sense tells us all that you do not poke a stick in your adversary's eye and then ask for something. Obama has been, and never will be a deal making politician and that is why he can never get anything done. And with Pelosi and Reid as his top two in Congress, there is NO HOPE for the Dems to reach across the aisle and make some progress on the important issues of the day. Obama believes his fiery speeches along will move the Republicans to work with him - never gonna happen. And since Hillary is cut from the same mold as Obama, the absolute worst thing for this country would be to put her in office as President. That move would take this county into recession and further alienate Dems and Republicans – with the lower and middle class paying the price for the Democratic political war mongering and public negativity. One of the greatest Speakers of the House was Tip O'Neil of Massachusetts.

    July 29, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  8. Gurgyl

    Great news. Yes on Hillary16.

    July 29, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  9. Al

    Time to get the Benghazi story down so that they can play the music from the same sheet.

    July 29, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  10. Harry

    Is that what they call it now..."doing lunch?" Why can't they both just admit they have a physical relationship and be transparent.

    July 29, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  11. bangladong

    These two were made for each other...Obama should divorce Michelle, Bill do the same with Hillary, then the Obama and Hillary should elope together and get hitched!

    July 29, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  12. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Clinton will win in a landslide in 2016, the GOP has nothing except obstruction and bs.

    July 29, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  13. Maobama

    I wonder if they'll discuss the the dead Americans from their Benghazi cover up?

    July 29, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  14. Steve, New York City

    Whitewater, Vincent Foster, Benghazi. . . .Hillary never takes blame for anything. I'd love to know her secret.

    July 29, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  15. Richard Long

    Did Hillary have to pay the OFA $40,000 for the exclusive lunch with Barack?

    July 29, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Hey Hil: I hope you get a choice of your lunch menu. I would not want fried chicken and watermelon for my meal. Go for the lobster salad!!!!!

    July 29, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  17. Secretary says

    Hillary Clinton for president 20016

    July 29, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  18. Norma Vessels

    Two of the people I most admire .. Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

    July 29, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  19. mcwreiole

    When these two get together it can only be bad for all of us. #coverup

    July 29, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  20. Secretary says

    Hillary Clinton for president 2016

    July 29, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  21. Wilson, Apparently

    Egomaniac Billary Clinton has been gearing up for her run for the presidency ever since 2008. She's a disgusting, cynical self-serving boor. The term limits for office should include one's spouse. We don't want the Clintons and their lack of morality in the White House again.

    July 29, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  22. splassher6

    Talking about Chris Stevens no doubt

    July 29, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  23. Ed1

    I guess they are seeing what else they need to cover up.

    July 29, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  24. Borderless

    Hillary: "You know I'm planning on running in 2016, so could you refrain from throwing me under the bus for the rest of your term? Now eat your vegetables young man."

    July 29, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  25. idb

    Why does the name Clinton seem to be synonymous with scandals? She would be the worst choice for a Democrat Presidential candidate ever.

    July 29, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
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