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. Rudy NYC


    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?
    Most any 5th grader could tell you the answer to that one. No. You can find the answer to this and similar questions by reading the US Constitution. In fact, your exact scenario of both the POTUS and the VEEP resigning has occurred before in our history. Read up on Pres. Gerald Ford.

    July 29, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. sheila

    Such drivel – who cares?

    July 29, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Jojola

    Wow, it looked like a beautiful day to have lunch outside. Only thing, I hope there was more food served than what's on their plates. Doesn't look like much, especially the president's portion.

    July 29, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. OK


    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.


    I would bet that you are absolutely livid with Bush,who as you will recall, sent over 4000 of our people to their deaths.

    July 29, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. nc

    who paid for this lunch? the taxpayers?

    July 29, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    Good for them. I hope they enjoyed the food, company and conversation. They deserve a break from all the GOP HATERS who always spew vomit-filled lies at them on a daily basis.

    July 29, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "who paid for this lunch? the taxpayers?"

    GROW. UP.

    July 29, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. leah

    Hilary 2016!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. SpaceMan

    Rudy NYC,

    Wow, you are right, that is exactly what happened.
    Any American 5th grader might know that, the rest of us immigrants are less knowledgeable of US history… interesting facts...

    July 29, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Getoverit wrote:

    Iraq was approved by Congress, including Hillary, Benghazi was not.
    Iraq was approved by a Republican controlled Congress acting on bad information. BTW, the Bush administration had over a dozen embassy attacks, including multiple attacks on the same locations, with heavy loss of life. Believe it or not, America remembers.

    I'm sure that all of this Benghaze, IRA rah-rah is popular with the right wing base, but it's toxic to the independents and other voters that Republicans are trying to convince to join their ranks.

    July 29, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. blake

    Anything those two agree on has got to be a really bad idea. Two compulsive liars. Two ego maniacs. Two Marxists. Two individuals with no moral compass. Two losers. Two darlings of the far left media.

    July 29, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Rudy NYC
    It sure seems like a lot of folks on the right are getting overly worked up over a simple power lunch.

    Indeed, Rudy. It sure seems like it.

    2016 ... May the best candidate win. Again.

    Oops. I almost forgot: Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi.

    July 29, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Pertinax

    She sure left quite a mess behind in the Middle East.

    July 29, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Johnp40

    What a laugh! The Racist-in-Chief having a beer with Hillary (What difference does it make?) Clinton.

    July 29, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    ....ahhhh. Haven't seen a picture of such losers since Hitler met Neville Chamberlin,the prime minister of England, during the early months of WWll..

    July 29, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "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.
    The most correct is answer is no. You cannot resign and select your Sec'y of State to succeed you. The VEEP comes first.

    July 29, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. Robert Camacho

    Hillary Clinton 2016

    We are ready!

    July 29, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. With Romney we'd have 4 million new jobs

    To all those Obama supporters who are unemployed or under employed ..... it is your own fault.

    To all those PARENTS WORKING 2 JOBS TO MAKE ENDS MEET - give thanks to Obama

    To those parents with kids still fighting for that corrupt Afghanistan regime, you can thank Obama

    To those middle class millions who have seen their retirement savings take a hit and still not come back - you can give a big thank you to Obama, Reid, and Pelosi ...

    To those cities and towns filling for bankruptcy – you can thank the Unions

    July 29, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. henry747

    nc, eat your heart out. Some people are winners and some people are losers. Losers are sour grapes people.

    July 29, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Hillary looks well-rested ...

    ... hope she stays rested, e.g. retired. Count me as one feminist liberal who thinks she is too much of a war-monger with poor personal judgment – not presidential material, although superb advisor material.

    July 29, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    @Ridiculous: "I'm really confused why people still venerate Hillary Clinton even after the Benghazi scandal. And as far as that is concerned, whether you believe that it really was a scandal or not, Hillary did quickly retire right afterwards, which, rationally, is very incriminating. What would happen if she were President? "

    She had already announced her retirement (by a year-and-a-half, in March 2011) when the attack on the Benghazi consulate occurred. She stayed until her planned retirement date, and testified about the attack, which, rationally, is the opposite of incriminating.

    You righties really need to learn how to think ...

    July 29, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Laverne

    Obama always look a little "flirty" when he is around Hillary. I am sure they have a somewhat weird love/hate relationship.

    July 29, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. Jeb

    The GOP witch hunt otherwise known as Spinghazi is over.

    Hillary 2016!!

    July 29, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. I'm NOT a liberal

    Anyone voting for Mrs. Benghazi gets what they deserve.

    Twist it anyway you want libbies. You know what I mean.

    July 29, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Hillary looks well-rested ... wrote:

    ... hope she stays rested, e.g. retired. Count me as one feminist liberal who thinks she is too much of a war-monger with poor personal judgment – not presidential material, although superb advisor material.
    ....but you sound like a conservative who is well versed in false right wing talking points and methods.

    July 29, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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