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. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Versus the right wing, who have been back and forth-ing each other in a childish display of "my ego is bigger than your ego" media blitz extravaganza. Christie, Rand, Cruz, and well... just about any [ R ] at this point comes to mind.

    Repeat 2008 ...

    Repeat 2012 ...

    July 29, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Scoot over Obama

    Hillary has come to save the day!

    July 29, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. nautiusm

    Ugh... this makes my skin crawl.

    July 29, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Chris

    Private meeting to determine how the Democrats, in the next election, will present their false-hope lies to the black community, female voters, and latinos. Sure fire way to win an election in the coming years...run with a minority, or a woman, and promise college education and driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

    July 29, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Working lunch to pass the torch to the next occupant of the White House. Hillary Clinton in 2016!

    July 29, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on that Chris. Hillary is not President Obama's type. She's not fly enough nor sexy enough. But you might want to watch out for Snooki Palin who definitely has the hots for the Prez. But I doubt he'd hit that either. LOL.

    July 29, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. sifto

    hopefully, Americans have had enough of these 2 jokers and their "phony" scandals...

    July 29, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. tom l.

    Just wondering from the liberals on here how you can just allow an obvious cover up with regards to Benghazi. How do you just accept that? Clearly they messed up and 4 Americans were killed yet you don't seem to care or want to know what really happened because your guy is the president. Shameful.

    July 29, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. tiz

    what a waste of time for the president....

    July 29, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. objectivity

    Like with so many public figures, of both parties, a comment made by them can be taken out of context to make them look good, or in this case, look incredible bad. Our politicians, again of both parties, say enough dumb things, that we should not be taking bits and pieces of comments to make them look even worse.

    "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again."

    July 29, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. glk20c

    Hillary: Your next master.

    July 29, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    tom l.
    Just wondering from the liberals on here how you can just allow an obvious cover up with regards to Benghazi. How do you just accept that? Clearly they messed up and 4 Americans were killed yet you don't seem to care or want to know what really happened because your guy is the president. Shameful.
    I hate to have to keep bringing this up to you and your ilk, but Bush lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction and that costs us the lives of THOUSANDS!!! Now your point is what????

    July 29, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. McBob79

    Wonder if they'll talk about that 3am commercial. Seems that the call happened and both didn't answer.

    July 29, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. J.

    Tom, nobody argues that the loss of 4 lives was tragic, but it's time for you and your misinformed ilk to stop shouting "cover up" when there was clearly no cover up. The only things you people seem to know how to say are "Benghazi" and "birth certificate." Hillary 2016!!

    July 29, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. jcraw

    Who cares! Why is this a news? I am just glad I didn't get invited.

    July 29, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Guest

    Maybe they will flip a coin to see who will take the blame for the "stand down" order during the Benghazi massacre.

    July 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. TONE

    There are a lot of right wingers on here who are very very scared, and that is how i like it run Hillary run keep these bigots from coming close to the white house forever.

    July 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Bubba Ray

    I wonder what they will talk about? What difference does it make?

    July 29, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. ghostwriter

    Republicans......still holding on to Benghazi, I see. Isn't it time to give up that and all the other "scandals" that prove to nothing more than republicans wishing like heck to pin anything negative on the President?

    We've had the discussions. 4 people died in the middle of a warzone. It happens. There was no cover up. No matter how bad you wish for something to pin on the guy, you cannot simply make things up.

    Matter of fact, you republicans should be the most upset. We've had hearings after hearings. For years on everything from Fast and Furious to the IRS. Your guys are either incompetent or chasing pipe dreams. But your rage should be over the fact that every hearing on every issue started with the premise that "This goes all the way to the top". Not a shred of evidence presented before or after supported that claim, yet that is all republicans tried to do. Not figuring out who's responsible, not interviewing key folks, just looking for that "missing link".

    You guys are being duped. Regardless of how you feel, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing. Nor of any coverup. For your leaders to continue in this vein only makes you guys look stupid. At least to the rest of us.

    July 29, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. BigBrother

    'Her famous quote after Benghazi, “What difference does it make?” Ah, Hillary did not understand at the time and still does not understand. Or maybe she does. Obama’s pandering in order to help elect the first female President.'

    Well that's one way to take a quote completely out of context. And it must be nice to completely ignore the 13 some odd attacks on American diplomatic outposts during the Bush presidency, resulting in the deaths of more than 50 people, 11 of which were Americans. Ironic or hypocritical that we ward nothing but silence from republicans on these attacks? By my count those combined attacks upon American interests dwarfs that of the shamelessly overblown Benghazi 'scandal'

    July 29, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. Suemac in WA

    It's nothing more than a conference call with the Bilderberg Group. Nothing to see here, folks.

    July 29, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Dude Rancher

    I don't care what they talk about as long as the fight the right.

    July 29, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. Nick

    Maybe Hillary's getting back at Bill, taking a walk on the wild side...

    July 29, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. California Gary

    Could be they are just having a social lunch........or they could be getting together to exchange ideas on the wide array of topics in the news. Either way, I think it is a good thing when brilliant people get together and break bread.

    July 29, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Suemac in WA

    If Hillary runs she will win. The women of America will make sure off that. It's a done deal. The only possibility (and it's extremely thin) is if the GOP comes up with a truly qualified woman themselves. Who could that be?

    July 29, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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