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. wny

    So Hillary gets crucified for Benghazi and Condoleezza gets off on Iraq

    July 29, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Evelyn Connaway

    I hope they have a wonderful lunch. Wish I had been invited. I would even fly there. I would have voted for Hillary in 2008, as a woman I wanted to see a woman president before my warranty expired. I might get to yet, if I'm lucky! I voted for Obama twice. And I will vote for Hillary if I'm still here!

    July 29, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |

    I hope they have a nice lunch together.

    July 29, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. J G

    Yikes. CNN is really cranking up the pro-Clinton propaganda these days isn't it?

    July 29, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. J G

    @Thinkagain – your comment is hilarious given that the Dems are going to put forward Clinton for president in 2016... talk about "select families" with control of everything.

    July 29, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. NameFrank Deery

    Blah blah! Water seeks it's own levels, so this must be "pay back" time for Benghazi and Bill Clinton's Convention speech, which helped put a lousey Presidenr back for 4 more years.

    The Clintons-both-are the Bonnie and Clyde of US politics and problems. That feckless, perk-loving, inept Obama did not see that red flag speaks volumes about his otherwise dismal and leadership tenure.


    July 29, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. SpaceMan

    I always thought that it would have been funny if right at the end of his term, Pres G. Bush Jr.’s would have had his VP quit and then picked C. Rice as his new VP. Then the Pres could have quit in his turn and Rice would have become the Pres. It would have been quite funny if a republican had been both the first female and the first black President….

    BTW, can that be done? Would that result in an unelected President?

    July 29, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Ccampa

    9/11 happenned during a republican administration. Unlike Benghazi, they were warned several times (in wrtiting) about it until it happened. And yet, Bush got re-elected. Please don't bring up the Benghazi made up lies, that horse has been beaten to a pulp. Hillary will be the next president, period.

    July 29, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Jerry Lizardo

    Did lunch? Obama have a burger and Hillary have a long-dog? The world is slipping away from us.

    July 29, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Lee Tutt

    I would love to be the fly on the wall to hear the conversation of President Obama and Hilary Clinton. The range of their conversation probably went from two friends, the middle east why the GOP are draging their feet on issues that concern this nation to her becoming the FIRST woman President.

    July 29, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Getoverit

    So Hillary gets crucified for Benghazi and Condoleezza gets off on Iraq
    Iraq was approved by Congress, including Hillary, Benghazi was not.

    July 29, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. kirk

    it's a scandal.. has to be.stay tuned

    July 29, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Bea

    I hope that part of the conversation was about Hillary running in 2016. Come on Hillary, jump in the water again. This time Obama will have your back.

    July 29, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. loops808

    Likely to get their Benghazi "talking points" straight over a nice lunch.

    July 29, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. southernwonder

    taxpayers out of a few thousand dollars?

    July 29, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. mb2010a

    Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. And re-elected again on 2020...we won't see another Republican president or the Republicans controlling either house of Congress for the next 50 years. There is hope for America after all...

    July 29, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. VoteForPedro

    I wonder what was served for lunch? Maybe BLTs with tomato soup and Fritos. That used to be my favorite as a kid.

    July 29, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. J Robinson

    "I wanted to see a woman president" Yes any woman, right? As long as you get to see one in your lifetime. How patriotic!

    July 29, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. abbot

    @Evelyn: You are typical of the citizen today. Its not about if the person is the right person for the presidency, its all about color and gender. Forget that she let 4 americans die in Benghazi or she is a career politician, it all about first female president.

    July 29, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    So Hillary gets crucified for Benghazi and Condoleezza gets off on Iraq
    Iraq was approved by Congress, including Hillary, Benghazi was not."

    Indeed. The GOP/Teatrolls defunded the security for Benghazi etc.

    July 29, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. kayla

    evelyn connaway, i hope you will too, you sound like a nice person

    July 29, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    "BTW, can that be done? Would that result in an unelected President?"
    Sure can. Gerald ford was selected as Nixon's VP when Agnew resigned. Then Nixon resigned and Ford became president. Voila – a president who was not elected.

    Just to add – Ford selected Nelson Rockefeller as his VP... making the first (and only) time both the chief executive and the VP weren't elected by the people.

    July 29, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. The REAL Truth...

    @Jean – they have to make sure they have their stories straight on that "phony scandal" Benghazi where, you will recall, 4 Americans were murdered. These people make me so angry it is almost unbearable.
    Yes, anger is what happens when you only get one side of the story – which is why you need to turn off Fox for 15 min and do some independent research. Let's put this into perspective.

    – Do you recall that there were 13 such attacks on US Embassies (not Consular offices as Benghazi was), 2 of which were REPEAT attacks between 2000 and 2008? NO!?
    – Do you recall that there were 11 Americans killed during those attacks and some 50 civilians also killed? NO!?
    – Do you recall the fuss the Democrats in Congress made of those attacks while Dubya was POTUS? NO!? – of course not.. that's because there weren't any and the Dem's had no axe to grind!!

    Those of us with an independently functioning BRAIN have examined the dichotomy and decided that even tho' it's reprehensible that the event took place and 4 Americans lost their lives, there was no more to this scandal than Darryl Issa trying (yet again) to convince the lemming right that there is a cover up at the highest levels. NOT! That worked so well, he tried the same approach [again] with the IRS "scandal", which we all know was a complete fuzzle and waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

    July 29, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. PJ

    What a beautiful place to have lunch outside. The salad looks great, wonder what else they ate.
    Love her new hair style.

    July 29, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. kylefromohio

    @NameFrank Deery

    Blah blah! Water seeks it's own levels, so this must be "pay back" time for Benghazi and Bill Clinton's Convention speech, which helped put a lousey Presidenr back for 4 more years.

    What a short memory; The people vote 53-47% and just in case you missed it 40% of the so called White population voted for the President in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, Of course you mostlikly been calling him King; Again forgetting we vote for Presidents not Kings!!!

    July 29, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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