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. Don Sporns

    Discussing campaign strategy for 2016 and how Obama will help. Hillary will crush, I mean absolutely hammer, any looney tea partier GOP will put up.

    July 29, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. larry bud

    this poor country is being thoroughly trashed by unsavory characters such as these and the voters appear to be so stooooooopid they do not even know the difference! wow! what a mess we have here in the USA!

    July 29, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The only people caught up in the made-up Benghazi "scandal" are the 23 Republicans left in America.
    It is going to take a considerably greater number than that to elect a Republican to the White House in 2016, 2020, maybe even 2024.
    THAT's how much Republicans crapped all over America and middle-class Americans.
    NO ONE is forgetting the number you pulled on us anytime soon.
    Too bad. So sad.

    July 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. Madeline

    This is just a plan to get HIllary Clinton in the public's eye in a setting where she appears to be important. It's like the staging of a house that they are getting ready to sell... a severely flawed and damaged house with a fresh coat of paint. It's just a scheme... just like the many other schemes that Hillary "Godham" Clinton has had in the past. I have never seen a more scheming and conniving indivudual in my entire long life than Hillary "Godham" Clinton. She is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a white-washed tomb full of dead men's bones, including Vince Foster's. They are going to continue doing this until the next election in an effort to put Hillary "Godham" Clinton in the White House.

    July 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    My guess is that Obama still needs her to come up with some ways to capitalize on Hillary's IN with women. This must be something on the 2014 elections. He will garner her help to get rid of some of the TEApugnants that are holding the nation hostage. THEN we will truly have a candidate who can lead the nation.

    July 29, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. pjoe

    What possible difference, at this point, does it make?

    Whether she is going to the Whitehouse because of (fill in false-choice-#1 here) or because of (fill in false-choice-#2 here), what possible difference does it make???

    July 29, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Wiscovasi

    For a woman to be so hateful of Hillary Clinton, that person should be a man turned into woman!

    July 29, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. 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? I mean, its a bit harder to simply disappear after you screw up, while in the oval office.

    July 29, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    @ann – They both are irresponsible dishonest people and phony beyond belief. Sad.
    Yes, sad beyond believe that folks like you refuse to turn off Faux Noise for 15 mins and do a little research of your own. You might be surprised at what you could learn.

    July 29, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. SpaceMan

    The people who will vote for Hillary don’t care about Benghazi. The only people who care are against her anyways so the incident will not change the outcome of the election. It’s an irrelevant argument.

    I have to give it to her; she calculated very well when she took the SOS job. Lack of international policy credentials was her only true weakness, a weakness Obama used effectively against her (Not that he had any relevant experience in the area but that is a different topic). She has now plugged that hole and is a very strong candidate. In the end I think she will win just because the country wants to see the first female President.

    July 29, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. rob

    They were discussing how to keep Hillary out of the Benghazi scandal so as not to hurt her chances in 2016. Her fingerprints are all over this trajedy. Instead of digging into what happened there the Media gives us puff pieces like this article and the networks give us a 4 part miniseries to glorify her.

    How pathetically biased our media is today.

    July 29, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. Warren

    It sure didn't take long for the haters (Republican) to come out...

    July 29, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. The REAL Truth...

    @larry bud – this poor country is being thoroughly trashed by unsavory characters..
    Sure is.. McConnell, Boehner, Cruz, Rubio, Sandford, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Ingraham, Beck.. all of whom still believe that "their way" is the only right ('scuse the intended pun) way to do things... and therein lies the problem. Clueless lemming voters supporting the Party of family values, who happily elect known liars, thieves and adulterers while fighting for the rights of the unborn while freely terminating the lives of convicted criminals, and support complete unadulterated access to weapons of all kinds.. but vie Sandy Hook as collateral damage... ah.. the dichotomy!

    July 29, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

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

    July 29, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. lolo

    The GOP is done. Put a fork in them. The most hateful group in history 2008 to date. Racism was just hidden until the black man was voted in for President and they lost their minds. They want to go back in time so bad, but it is not going to happen. America is moving on with or without them.

    July 29, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    JY wrote:

    I would have voted for a Palin/McCann ticket in 2008 over a Hillary/anyone ticket, yes Palin for da Prez.. ... ... ...
    So, in other words, not only would you have, but you did vote for McCain/Palin in 2008 over Obama/Biden.

    July 29, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Joe

    They are talking about more ways to lie to Americans. That is what is on the agenda. Nothing but cover-ups with these two. It's time for America to have a new direction. One without any Bush's, Clinton's and Obama's.... They all should not be allowed to enter politics ever again.

    July 29, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. common sense

    the most transparent president in history?

    July 29, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Eric

    Wiscovasi says:
    July 29, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm
    For a woman to be so hateful of Hillary Clinton, that person should be a man turned into woman!

    Says a woman about a woman who allows men to walk all over her. Sure we need a female President, just not one who allows Monica in her bedroom. Remember Hillary's visit to Egypt, she was greeted with chants if "Monica, Monica, Monica!" What makes anyone think the listen to someone who can't keep her husband in check?

    July 29, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Wake up People!

    And I think Michelle Obama would be perfect in the VP position!!

    Clinton/Obama 2016!!!!

    Now watch the heads of the GOP explode!!!

    July 29, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    To all the righties posting here who gleefully mention Benghazi (the new "Whitewater," another incident you used to hound Clinton, wasting taxpayer dollars, looking for a scandal that didn't exist) in an attempt to smear Clinton:

    What is it about Sec. Clinton's COMPLETE testimony that you don't get? Follow-up question: Have you ever read or heard her COMPLETE testimony? If all you listen to is Fox – and never use your computer to actually look up FACTS – then you probably haven't. Be sure to read the part below that starts with, "It is our job ...."

    "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d 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, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about
    this. But the fact is that people were trying in real time to get the best information….But, you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime."

    July 29, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    @Mightyduk: "With the lack of any kind of direction or plan from the GOP she has my vote."

    The GOP will NEVER get my vote (and yes, I've voted for Repubs in the past – about 20 years ago when some of them were still sane) because the GOP has devolved into a blueprint for Saudi-style governing: A few select families own and control everything, with religious police keeping the masses in line.

    July 29, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Az

    Now maybe they have a cohesive story about Benghazi

    July 29, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. 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.

    July 29, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. patNY

    I hope they discussed the issue of abortion, how its murder, and it must be banned under all circumstances!

    July 29, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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